Cougar Seniors Give Grand Performance Against OSU

Feb. 12, 2005

Box Score

PULLMAN, Wash. - On a day when Washington State seniors Jessica Perry and Emma Joneby were honored prior to the Cougars' final home game of the season, the duo gave the home fans something to remember them by.

The pair combined for 21 points while Keisha Moore added a team-high 17, as the Cougars rallied from an 11-point first half deficit and held off a late Oregon State rally to defeat the Beavers 68-63 in Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball action, Saturday at Friel Court.

The win improved WSU to 6-18 overall and 2-13 in the Pac-10. Oregon State dropped to 6-18 overall and 1-13 in conference play. WSU is now in ninth place in the Pac-10 standings, a half game ahead of OSU.

In overcoming the double-digit deficit, the Cougars tied for the 11th greatest comeback in school history. It also marked the ninth time this season that the Cougars had overcome at least an eight point deficit to take a lead in a game and the fourth time that the comeback had resulted in a win.

'They played to win,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said of her team's effort. 'The effort was just outstanding.'

The Cougars also had to overcome a hot-shooting OSU team in the first half. The Beavers were in the 70th percentile from the field for much of the half en route to a 13-of-24 (54.2 percent) performance over the opening 20 minutes. However, OSU cooled to 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) from the field in the second half.

For the game, the Cougars were 21-of-48 (43.8 percent) from the field despite shooting 1-of-13 from 3-point territory. In addition, WSU made 25-of-32 attempts from the line including 8-of-10 in the final two minutes.

'We stepped up on the free throw line,' Murrell said. 'I keep telling our kids, `We're good free throw shooters, it's all confidence.' Tonight was an exceptional display of confidence and that's why we won.'

Perry scored a season-high 13 points but the scoreboard was not the only area where the Phoenix, Ariz., native did her damage. In addition to her point total, the 5-foot-6 guard tallied six rebounds, six steals, three assists and threw in a block for good measure.

'Jess Perry was a huge spark for us,' Murrell said. 'There was a critical point in the game that Perry had some steals where she just gave us such a great lift. There were wide open lay-ups because of those steals.'

Joneby finished with eight points, including six in the second half. The 6-foot-2 forward was a perfect 6-of-6 from the line and added four rebounds.

Moore, who scored 13 of her season-high point total in the second half, also contributed across the stat sheet recording seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks.

Kate Benz, the Pac-10 leader in rebounds, recorded eight points and seven rebounds while Charmaine Jones chipped in 11 for WSU. Oregon State's Shannon Howell led all scorers with 21 points.

WSU opened up the game's scoring with a Jones' bucket but Oregon State went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 lead just over two minutes in the game.

OSU extended its advantage to 11 points three times, the latest coming at 26-15 with 8:18 remaining in the opening half.

However, a 15-5 run, which was sparked by a Ariana Scales' 3-pointer, cut the Beavers' lead to one. Seven players scored for the Cougars in the run.

Down 33-30 at the half, WSU carried its momentum from the end of the first half to the second half as an 8-2 spurt over the opening three and a half minutes gave the Cougars a 38-35 lead.

OSU retook the lead with five consecutive points when WSU went on a 14-1 run, which was aided by eight points from Moore and a pair of steals from Perry, to take a double-digit lead of its own at 52-41 with 9:31 remaining.

WSU maintained its 11-point advantage at 57-46 with 7:06 left before OSU climbed back with a 12-3 blitz that pulled the Beavers within two at 60-58 with 1:50 left.

But that was as close as OSU would get. The Cougars attempted 10 free throws over the final 1:42 of the game. The Cougars missed their first and 10th attempt but made all eight in between to secure the win.

'We have been so close and I think they just got tired of it,' Murrell said of her team's thwarting OSU's rally. 'I felt they made some decisions toward the end that showed that they're maturing; that they learned from those lessons when we panicked.'

WSU returns to action at Washington, Saturday, Feb. 19 for a 6 p.m. tip-off. The game will be televised live on FSN Northwest.
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