PULLMAN – A team does not go undefeated against a twice-yearly opponent for more than three decades without a little luck and some close calls.
In 57 previous attempts against Stanford, the Cougars never got closer to knocking off the Cardinal than they did on Sunday when WSU led for most of the game and held a double-digit lead in the second half.
But No. 15 Stanford played like a team that has survived plenty of close calls during its history of excellent women’s basketball and clawed back to force overtime, then win 86-76.
It was the first time Stanford couldn’t beat the Cougars in regulation. Last season, the Cardinal played in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in six years.
“They hit their free throws down the stretch and we didn’t and we had a chance to put them away in regulation,” WSU coach June Daugherty said. “We missed a ton of ours, uncharacteristic for us, and (Stanford’s) Amber Orrange in particular was very poised with her free throws. That to me was very costly.”
The Cougars made 16 of 23 free throws. Leading scorers Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley made 6 of 8 and 6 of 7, respectively, but each missed one in the final two minutes of regulation.
Stanford’s Bonnie Samuelson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11 seconds left but Galdeira, who finished with 18 points, drove the length of the court to score with just two seconds left and send the game to overtime.
Six Stanford players scored in double digits, led by Orrange who had 19 points.
In overtime, WSU starting forward Mariah Cooks picked up her fifth foul on Stanford’s first possession while going after a loose ball. The play gave the Cardinal a pair of free throws, and a jump shot by Orrange on the next possession put Stanford in the driver’s seat.
“I thought it was a great hustle play on (Cooks’) part,” Daugherty said. “Tough to see a call even being made but that’s the way it goes. It was a critical call, no doubt.”
Cooks was injured on the play but will be fine, according to Daugherty.
WSU (10-5, 1-3) has lost three consecutive games after seeing its six-game winning streak snapped last week at Arizona State. This season, the Cougars have played five games against teams ranked in the Top 25, going 2-3.
“Our team hates to lose so anytime you lose there’s motivation to come out and win the next game,” Presley said. “We have two big games coming up so hopefully we can use these three losses that we’ve had as motivation to come out and really try to get a win (against the Oregon schools).”
The Cougars received big contributions off the bench from a pair of freshmen on Sunday. Pinelopi Pavlopoulou made all three of her 3-point attempts, and Louise Brown scored eight points and had six rebounds.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.