2014 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals: Galdeira, Presley lift Washington State over Cal
SEATTLE – Driving to the rim seemed the conventional option.
Lia Galdeira corralled the long rebound and dribbled across half court, All-Pac-12 defender Brittany Boyd the only player in her path. WSU’s sophomore shooting guard took two dribbles and slowly jumped to a stop.
She rose and fired from a foot behind the top of the arc.
Swish. Game tied at 38 with a shade under three minutes left in the first half.
Using 28 points from Galdeira, 19 points from junior guard Tia Presley, and a 19-7 run midway through the second half, the No. 7 seed Cougars went on to a 91-83 win over the No. 2 seed Golden Bears Friday night at KeyArena.
For the second straight night, it was the “Tia and Lia” show. Or is it “Lia and Tia?”
“Lia does a lot of interesting things on the basketball court,” WSU coach June Daugherty said. “She’s blessed with a lot of athleticism and she’s a fierce competitor. How do I feel about (pull-up three’s)? When they go in, great job.”
Presley put a cap on it with a corner 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to give WSU an 87-78 lead with 1:25 left. Galdeira distributed after she worked the clock down, drove and kicked at the last moment.
“It was a total adrenaline rush for everybody. The bench exploded,” Daugherty said. “We’ve looked to Tia and Lia so much this year for the big shots. It was fun. To us that’s fun to see Tia do that at the buzzer… it’s what college sports is all about.
“That was straw that broke their back a little bit.”
Fresh off a 31-point performance Thursday night against Oregon, Presley started by guiding WSU to a 16-12 lead with four buckets. When Cal’s Courtney Range hit a corner 3-pointer with 11:27 left in the first half, Cal captured a 21-18 lead. WSU’s Sage Romberg responded with a pair of three’s and a field goal to give the Cougars a 26-21 advantage, but Cal retorted with a 9-0 run. WSU forward Shalie Dheensaw then reeled off four straight points, her only in the first half, to tie the game at 30.
And so it went in a fast-paced 20 minutes that had nine ties and six lead changes. Over the last 3:50, the Cougars outscored the Golden Bears, 12-6, to take a 45-44 halftime lead.
How close was it in the first half?
WSU shot 48 percent from the field while Cal shot 47 percent. The Cougars pulled down 20 rebounds while the Golden Bears pulled down 18. WSU scored 24 points in the paint while Cal had 22. The Cougars made 10 of 13 free throws and the Golden Bears made eight of nine.
But in the second half, WSU, losers twice to Cal in the regular season, were simply too motivated and too hot from 3-point range (six-of-11 in the second half, nine-of-18 for the game). The Cougars’ 91 points were the most scored against Cal this season in a game that didn’t go into overtime.
“So we had two good games with them, and I felt like we got the best of the different styles; and obviously, today, in a glaring way, they did what they do really well,” said Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “It was a big problem for us. But I think it was a lot more of them being really good, and we just had a rough night defending them.”
Romberg, who played in her school-record 127th game, scored 16 points thanks to three three’s and joined the school’s “1,000-point club.”
“It feels really good,” Romberg said of the night. “It shows how far this program has come since I’ve come here. It’s good to be back in the semifinals, for sure.”
When Boyd picked up her fifth foul with 5:48 to go, Cal’s fate was essentially sealed. With a 21-9 record, the Golden Bears will wait for their invitation to the women’s NCAA tournament.
Cal was led by Reshanda Gray’s 26 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Afure Jemerigbe chipped in 16 points and seven boards, as well.
For the second time in the past three seasons, the Cougars are on to the Pac-12 Women’s Tournament semifinals. They face the winner of Friday night’s Oregon State/Utah game Saturday at 8:30 p.m. P.T.
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