Cougs close out a homestand with a 78-66 loss to Utah
PULLMAN, Wash. — Sophomore Ula Motuga scored a season-high 14 points in her return from a two-game absence, but the Washington State University women’s basketball team ran into a hot-shooting Utah team on Sunday, Feb. 9, as the Cougars fell to the Utes, 78-66, at Beasley Coliseum in Pac-12 Conference action.
Motuga’s 14-point effort led a trio of double-digit scorers for the Cougs, as the sophomore return to action after missing the last two games due to injury. The 14 points for Motuga matches her season high, as the forward has now recorded 14 points in each of her last two contests played. Motuga previously tallied her season high in points against Cal back on Jan. 31, prior to her two-game absence.
Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova and redshirt junior Johanna Muzet each scored 12 points to round out the group of double-figure scorers for WSU on Sunday. The 12-point effort for Muzet matched her season-high in points, while Hristova’s 12-point performance against Utah moves the forward into a tie for 16th on the Pac-12 women’s basketball all-time scoring list with Cal’s Ashley Walker with 2,142 career points.
The loss drops the WSU to 11-13 overall on the year, while they fall to 4-8 in Pac-12 play. For Utah, they improve to 12-11 and move ahead of the Cougars in the Pac-12 standings in seventh place at 5-7.
Washington State scored the first four points of Sunday’s contest, but Utah would then roll off 13-straight points to set the tone for the afternoon. The Utes hit six of their seven 3-point field goals during the first two quarters of play on Sunday to build a 21-point lead at the break. Utah led by as many as 34 points in the third quarter, before Washington State got off the mat to score 29 points in the fourth to endure a 12-point defeat.
The 29-point fourth quarter by the Cougs came two points shy of tying the Washington State women’s basketball record for most points scored in a fourth quarter. Sunday’s 29 fourth-quarter points marks the second-straight contest this weekend that Washington State has scored 25-or-more points in the final stanza. On Friday, WSU tallied 28 points in the come-from-behind win over Colorado, to help the Cougars score the third-largest comeback win in program history.
The Utes shot a blistering 51.9% from the floor against the Cougars, while they held WSU to a 37.7% field goal percentage. Utah was red-hot from behind the arc on Sunday, as they hit an even 50% of its 3-point field goal attempts, connecting on seven of its 14 shots.
Washington State concludes its four-game homestand at 2-2, and they now head back onto the road for a two-game swing through the desert next week at Arizona State and Arizona. The Cougars open the trip in Tempe against the Sun Devils on Friday, Feb. 14. Tip-off against Arizona State is set for 6 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Networks.
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on Today’s Result: “Give credit to Utah. They really came ready to play. They put a lot of shooters on the floor and we never really got a handle on that. We didn’t want to give them 3’s and we pretty much let them have shooting practice. We just weren’t very sharp offensively, and we just didn’t have the fight and the fire that we normally do, and it’s showed. Utah outplayed us today in ever capacity.”
– Sophomore Ula Motuga’s 14-point performance marks her fifth game this season with double-digit points.
– With the loss, Washington State falls to 7-6 at home on the season, while they are now 2-5 in Beasley against Pac-12 squads.
– Senior Borislava Hristova extended her double-digit scoring streak to 18-straight games, which is the fourth-longest double-digit scoring streak by a senior in program history.
– Senior Chanelle Molina moved into second on the Washington State all-time assist list on Sunday, as she now has 407 career helpers.
– Molina also moved into the top-10 on the Washington State women’s basketball all-time scoring list on Sunday. The point guard now has 1,289 career points, which puts her one point ahead of Jazmine Perkins (2008-12) for No. 10 on the WSU all-time scoring list.