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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WSU women off to best start since ‘95-96

PULLMAN — The holiday doldrums had no visible effect on the Washington State women’s basketball team, which overcame finals, sickness and the holiday season to beat Montana State 82-61 on Saturday afternoon in front of 942 fans at Beasley Coliseum. Lia Galdeira energized the Cougars offensively and defensively, scoring 26 points, stealing the ball five times and chipping in when needed elsewhere with five rebounds and three assists. The win improves the Cougars’ record to 8-2, which is WSU’s best record through 10 games since the 1995-96 season. With seven new players, likely excited by the prospect of taking their first big break from college life after Monday’s game at Loyola Marymount, coach June Daugherty was uncertain how her team would handle the late December games that tend to haunt college basketball coaches. “They scare me to death,” Daugherty said. “I don’t sleep good before games like this.” That two starting post players are sick didn’t help, either. MSU took a 10-5 lead early. But with 9:29 left in the first half one of those sick players, Shalie Dheensaw, hit a jumper to give the Cougars a 20-18 lead. Point guard Dawnyelle Awa followed it with a floater, Tia Presley hit a 3-pointer and Awa scored again and the Cougars cruised. “I feel like we’re really good at separating school and basketball and not letting anything interfere with playing,” Galdeira said. “As long as we have each other to pick us up when something’s going tough with finals or anything I feel like we’ll do pretty well.” Awa finished with a season-high 12 points while making 6 of 8 shots. WSU’s coaches have asked Awa, an effective distributor, to be more aggressive in looking for her own shot and Saturday’s game was a step forward. There were plenty of familiar faces making the trip from Bozeman back to Pullman on Saturday. Lindsay Stockton’s last name should ring a bell – she’s the daughter of Gonzaga and NBA great John Stockton and she played her high school ball at Gonzaga Prep. The Greater Spokane League is well represented on the Bobcats, who also suit up Hannah Caudill of Gonzaga Prep and Delany Junkermier of Mead. Montana State associate head coach Amy Starr starred for the Cougars in the ’90s as Amy Saneholtz. The Pullman native set the school single-game rebounding record with 22 against Arizona State and holds the WSU record for single-game field goal percentage, making 10 out of 10 shots against Stanford. Her mother, Marcia Saneholtz, is a former senior associate athletic director at WSU. With control of the game for nearly all of the second half, the Cougars had a deep rotation and were able to get nine different players at least 10 minutes on the court and 11 Cougars scored. “Hopefully this will be a good experience down the road with Pac-12 play right around the corner,” Daugherty said.
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