SEATTLE – Washington State interim women’s basketball coach Mike Daugherty has two reasons for wanting the team’s head coach to return for tonight’s game with fourth-ranked Stanford.
First, the head coach is his wife, June, and that would mean she’s feeling better after undergoing an appendectomy on Thursday.
Second, Mike could then retire undefeated.
Lia Galdeira scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the second half, including 10 during a 3-minute spree, as the eighth-seeded Cougars (11-19) rallied past ninth-seeded Arizona State 48-41 on Thursday night in a Pac-12 Conference tournament first-day game at KeyArena.
The Cougars will meet top-seeded Stanford (28-2) at 6 tonight. WSU is 0-54 all-time against the Cardinal.
The Cougars received quite a jolt Thursday when June Daugherty started feeling poorly in the morning and had her condition worsen during the team’s shoot-around. Team doctor Dennis Garcia advised that she should go to the hospital.
“I was going with her until she told me not to,” said Mike, who is in is third decade of coaching beside June. “I just do whatever she says, and she said, ‘You stay here with the team.’ … I did that. She said, ‘Win the game,’ so we did that. So I’m good. I’ve been listening to her for 24 years.”
June Daugherty’s surgery began around tipoff. She didn’t see any of the game, but she was aware of the win later at night.
“Knowing my wife, if she can come back to the hotel (today), she’ll be on the sidelines,” Daugherty said.
The prospects of a second-round game looked bleak when the Cougars shot 5 for 23 from the field in the first half and trailed the Sun Devils 18-13. WSU had one field goal during a 13½-minute span while setting a tournament record for fewest points in a half.
“We told the kids at halftime to keep playing great defense and we’ll start making shots,” Daugherty said.
Galdeira, the Cougars’ leading scorer as a freshman, sparked the offense early in the second half with four baskets, including two 3-pointers, to turn a 21-15 deficit into a 27-25 lead.
“I remember watching this tournament as a little kid and now I’m here,” said the soft-spoken Galdeira.
Galdeira’s baskets started and ended a 19-4 run that gave WSU a 41-29 lead with 7:35 left. Freshman forward Mariah Cooks came off the bench to give the Cougars six consecutive points during the run.
“Just playing with patience, that’s what works best for me,” Cooks said. “When I’m able to see where my defender is and make whatever move I need to.”
Freshman Dawnyelle Awa added 10 points for WSU, hitting 6 of 6 from the free-throw line, and sophomore Shalie Dheensaw blocked four shots as the Cougars tied the tournament single-game record with nine.
ASU (13-18) set a tournament record by finishing 0 for 11 on 3-pointers.
“That’s been our Achilles’ heel pretty much all year, especially in the Pac-12: Are we going to make shots?” said Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne.
Janae Fulcher scored a game-high 20 points in her last game with ASU.