Near miss for the Cougars as Utah escapes late
PULLMAN, Wash. — Falling behind by as much as 21 points in the second quarter, Washington State (6-9, 1-3) mounted another massive rally in the second half against Utah (14-1, 3-1) only to come up just short of completing the comeback as the Utes escaped Pullman, 72-68, Friday night in Beasley Coliseum.
Storming back over the final 20 minutes of action, the Cougars took their first and only lead of the night midway through the fourth quarter, 66-65, only to see their hot streak go cold over the final 4:27 of the contest. The final nail for the Cougs came with just :16 seconds to play and down three when a game-saving three-pointer by Chanelle Molina rimmed out and a loose ball foul on the rebound earned Utah what amounted to be a game-icing free throw.
For WSU, the rally really started in the final minutes of the first half when Molina put together a one-woman comeback as the junior guard outscored the Utes’ 10-5 to close the quarter and make it just a 14-point game at the break. With a three at the buzzer, Molina finished the second quarter with 15 points to keep WSU in the game.
The Cougs would start the second half on a 15-6 run to close within five thanks to the hot shooting of Alexys Swedlund who would hit all three of her three-pointers in the third while Maria Kostourkova provided the muscle in the paint with five points, five rebounds, and three blocks in the frame. In the fourth, the Cougars used an 11-6 run to tie the game at 64-64 midway through the final period as Borislava Hristova found a little room to work, scoring seven of her 13 in the quarter.
Prior to WSU’s rally, Utah was able to build its huge lead in the first 15 minutes of the game thanks to a seemingly perfect showing from the floor. Up 12 after one, the Utes hit their next 10 shots to put the Cougars in what appeared to be an insurmountable hole at the time.
The Utes took advantage of WSU in the post behind the play of Megan Huff and Dre’Una Edwards who scored 23 of Utah’s 46 points in the half. The Utes would finish the half 20-of-29 from the floor with 13 assists.
Coach Ethridge Quote of the Game
“Credit to Utah. They came in and they played really fast and they got downhill and we didn’t want any part of it…When you spot a team that much it’s hard to crawl back in. Then turn around and I loved the fight in us. I thought we started to show a little life with three or four minutes to go in that second quarter. Got great production and great energy and aggressiveness and dealt with some physicality in the second half. Just everything that gave us a chance to get back in the game and a chance to win.”