The WSU women’s hoops team (7-2) used a late comeback to beat in-state rival Gonzaga (5-3) in Spokane, Wash. A victory over Gonzaga, even a middling Gonzaga, is still an impressive win to put on the Cougars NCAA Tournament résumé.
Shooting guard Lia Galdeira secured the victory by hitting two free throws with 6.9 seconds left — after getting fouled hard — to extend Washington State’s lead to 59-56. Gonzaga hit a lay-up as time expired to close within one of WSU. Galdeira’s free throws gave the Cougars their second victory over the Bulldogs in the last three seasons — WSU’s previous victory was a 57-51 stunner in 2012, also in Spokane.
Unlike the 2012-13 squad, this years team is in the middle of an incredible start to their season. Washington State’s season started with an impressive 16-point home victory over (at the time) No. 22 Dayton, and a tight win over (at the time) No. 8 Maryland in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The team’s worst loss was an 12-point loss to a 6-2 Michigan squad that is not receiving votes in any of the top 25 polls. WSU’s 21-point loss to No. 15 Nebraska is the team’s second worse lost, and its only other loss during the season. So far, Washington State has earned a 2-1 record against team’s in the top 25.
Washington State has seven wins during its non-conference schedule for the first time since the Cougars last NCAA Tournament appearance, which was the 1990-91 season. The 1991 tournament team was also the last time the Cougars had received votes in the top 25, until this years squad; as WSU currently has seven top 25 votes.
The Cougars next play on Saturday, December 20th at 1 pm in Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, Wash. against the Montana State Bobcats.