Hristova drops 32, while Molina posts double-double in Cougar Win

Cougs battle, but fall 74-68 to Miami at the 2019 Miami Holiday Classic
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 PULLMAN, Wash. — Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova recorded her first 30-point game of the 2019-20 season on Friday, Jan. 31, as she tallied 32 points to lift a hot-shooting Washington State women’s basketball team past the University of California, 92-66, in Beasley Coliseum.

Hristova got her night underway with a 14-point performance in the first quarter. The quick start guided the player they call Bobi Buckets to her first 30-point effort of the season, as she ended her night with 32 points, while shooting 14-of-19 from the field against Cal.

The win snaps Washington State’s four-game losing streak, as they move into a four-way tie for seventh in the Pac-12 Conference at 3-6. Tonight’s victory also puts the Cougs in double digits in the win category, as they now stand at 10-11 on the year. For Cal, the loss is their ninth-straight, as the Golden Bears fall to 0-9 in the Pac-12 and 8-12 overall this season.

Not to be outdone by Hristova, senior Chanelle Molina followed up her teammate’s spectacular performance by collecting her second double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Molina shot a blistering 75% (9-of-12) from the field against the Golden Bears. However, her most impressive shot of the evening unfortunately did not count in the final box score. On the final possession of the second quarter, Molina drilled an 85-foot desperation heave from the opposite side of the court, but after a short review it was confirmed that the shot came shortly after the halftime buzzer sounded.

The Cougars once again got off to a quick start against the Golden Bears on Friday, by hitting 11 of their first 15 shots from the floor through the first 10 minutes. Washington State shot 58% from the field (40-69) as a team against Cal, while Friday also marks the second time this season Washington State has scored over 90 points in a game. The previous time also came against the Golden Bears back on Jan. 5, when the Cougs posted 96 points in a win at Haas Pavilion.

Sophomore Ula Motuga rounded out a trio of double-digit scorers for Washington State with a season-high 14 points. The forward was also efficient on the night, as she shot 6-of-10 from the field. The trio of Hristova, Molina and Motuga combined to shoot 70.7% on Friday, as they hit 29 of their 41 shots between them.

WSU’s shooting efficiency led to a 62-22 edge in points in the paint, while they forced Cal into 19 turnovers, which led to a 25-13 advantage in points off turnovers. WSU led for 38:33 of game time, while they played the majority of the contest with a double-digit lead. The Cougars extended their lead to as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter before collecting the 26-point victory.

Washington State returns to Beasley this Sunday, Feb. 2, as WSU continues its four-game homestand against No. 6 Stanford. Tip-off against the Cardinal is set for 12 p.m. from Beasley Coliseum on Super Bowl Sunday and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network Bay Area.

COUG QUOTES
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on Tonight’s Win: 
“I’m extremely thrilled and pleased with how our team came out and played tonight. We had a good feeling all day. We felt good in preparation for tonight and I thought the team warmed up exceptionally well, and that carried over into the start of the game. It just shows you that if we come in with a lot of passion and energy, we play a lot better. Again, I’m really happy with how we played, I know we had some spurts over the last two quarters that we lost a little focus, but I thought we bounced back and answered most of the challenges they presented us tonight.”

COUG NOTES
– Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova moved into 18th on the Pac-12 women’s basketball all-time scoring list tonight, as she now has 2,098 career points. She moved past Stanford’s Val Whiting (1989-93) to claim No. 18 on the all-time scoring list, and she is now four points away from surpassing UCLA’s Maylana Martin (1997-00) for 17th.

– Tonight’s 32-point performance mark Borislava Hristova’s seventh career game with 30-plus points, while it is also the 47th time in her career that she has scored over 20 points in a game.

– With 21 points and 11 rebounds, Chanelle Molina collects her third career double-double and her second of the 2019-20 season.

– Ula Motuga’s 14-point performance was one off her career-high in points. She established her career-best in points last season against Utah State with 15 points back on Nov. 6, 2018.

– With the win, Washington State sweeps the season series against California for the first time since the 2010-11 season.

– Washington State improves to 10-3 this season against teams ranked outside the Associate Press and/or USA Today Coaches Polls.