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WSU Men's Basketball

Washington State women close regular season with important 72-63 upset of No. 13 Colorado

From staff reports

BOULDER, Colo. – Washington State had an exceptional finish and closed its regular season with a significant road win.

The Cougars used a 14-0 scoring run over the final 2½ minutes to upend No. 13 Colorado 72-63 on Saturday afternoon in a Pac-12 women’s basketball game at the CU Events Center.

The win gives WSU (18-13, 7-11 Pac-12) a much-needed boost heading into the Pac-12 tournament. The Cougars locked up the No. 9 seed for the tournament. They’ll meet eighth-seeded California at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first round at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

WSU stumbled to a 2-7 record in February after star guard Charlisse Leger-Walker suffered a season-ending injury during a win at No. 2 UCLA on Jan. 28, but the team opened March with a key win . The Cougars will be looking to make some noise in the Pac-12 Tournament and stay in the mix for NCAA Tournament consideration.

On Saturday, the Cougars showed that they can still compete with the Pac-12’s best teams, especially if they play like they did in the fourth quarter against the Buffaloes (21-8, 11-7).

WSU trailed by five points with less than 3 minutes to play, but guards Tara Wallack, Eleonora Villa and Astera Tuhina knocked down 3-pointers over the next 2 minutes to put WSU ahead for good. Tuhina hit a crucial shot, beating the shot-clock buzzer with a long-distance 3 – approximately 5 feet beyond the line – to put the Cougars ahead by six points with 45 seconds remaining.

WSU shot 5 of 7 on 3-pointers during the fourth quarter. The Cougars went 8 of 12 on 3-pointers in the second half and erased a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter.

Villa finished with a game-high 20 points. Tuhina scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, shooting 4 for 4 on 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes. Wallack and center Bella Murekatete added 12 points apiece as WSU shot 45% from the field and 8 of 17 (47.1%) on 3s.

The Buffaloes shot 36.2% from the floor and 7 of 18 (38.9%) from beyond the arc. They shot 5 of 16 during the fourth quarter – WSU outscored Colorado 25-13 in the final quarter. Guard Jaylyn Sherrod led Colorado with 18 points.