Cougars Hold Off American To Capture Season Opening Win

Nov. 21, 2000

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Utilizing a 29-8 run over a 15:53 span of the game, WSU sprinted to a 16-point second-half lead and then held off a late American rally to record a 59-52 season opening win over the Eagles Tuesday night at Bender Arena.

Despite being down by that 16-point margin twice in the second half, American would use a 19-7 second-half run of their own to slice the Cougars' lead to 56-52 at the 1:31 mark of the second half.

A steal by American's Jina Lewis with 1:03 left gave the Eagles a chance to continue to erase the Cougars' lead but a three-point attempt from Kaitlin Schuyler with 47 seconds left rimmed out. American retained possession however, as WSU could not capture the rebound. But after a time-out, the Eagles turned the ball over when American's Hollie Steinman was whistled for a three-second violation with 31 seconds left.

Katie Nyseth and Jessica Ottmar combined to hit three free throws in the final 24 seconds to give the Cougars their final winning margin.

'All in all it was a great win,' said WSU head coach Jenny Przekwas. 'It's not easy to open on the road and travel thousands of miles for your first game. To be able to come on the road and get a win in our first game out is big.'

Down 13-8 at the 10:27 mark of the first half, WSU would never trail again after a 7-0 run that was initiated by a three-pointer from Whitney Martindale and ended by a bucket from Martindale. After American briefly tied the game at 15, WSU scored 10 of the final 13 points of the half to take a 25-18 halftime lead.

After spotting the Eagles a three-point play to begin the second half, WSU blitzed American with a 12-0 run to seize a 37-21 lead with 14:34 left in the game.

American dwindled the advantage to 10, but WSU re-established its lead back to 16 at 49-33 with 7:17 left in the game. American then gave the Cougars a taste of their own medicine as it went on a 19-7 run over the next 5:46 to cut the margin to four.

The Cougars were led by Brittney Hawks, who led all scorers with 18 points, and Martindale's 11 points.

WSU continues its east coast swing at the Coca-Cola Classic Nov. 25 & 26 hosted by No. 7 Rutgers University at Piscataway, N. J. The Cougars open the tournament against George Washington Saturday at 10 a.m. Pacific.

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