Huskies Hold On To Beat Cougars

Dec. 28, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. - Candace Fields and Jessica Perry led a quartet of Washington State players in double figures with 17 points each in the Cougars' 77-69 loss to Washington in Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball action, Saturday at Friel Court.

Although the Huskies captured the conference opener for both teams, the Cougars did not make it easy, rallying from a 19-point first half deficit to take the lead in the second half.

Loree Payne led a group of three Huskies (9-1) in double figures with a game-high 29 points. Giuliana Mendiola (14 points) and Andrea Lalum (12 points) completed the trio. Emma Joneby (12 points) and Kim Dugan (11 points) rounded out the double-digit scoring contingent for WSU. Fields also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

'I told the kids to feel the pain of the loss but feel the glory that got you there - to be able to possibly win it,' said WSU coach Sherri Murrell. 'I was real proud of them. They were playing the type of defense that I've always wanted them to play.'

Washington sprinted out of the gates taking a 35-16 lead at the 7:47 mark of the first half. After shaving its deficit to 37-20, WSU ended the half with 13 unanswered points to go into halftime down 37-33.

The Cougars would pull to within two points on three separate occasions in the opening 3:03 of the second half. WSU completed its comeback and took its first lead of the game at 45-44 on a Dugan three-pointer with 16:28 remaining.

WSU extended its lead to 47-44 on a lay-up by Sarah Barrett but Washington would respond by scoring six unanswered points to take a 50-47 lead with 13:16 remaining.

A bucket by Holly Harris brought the Cougars to within one at 50-49 but the Huskies countered with five consecutive points to take a 55-49 lead with 11:10 left. Washington would pull ahead by as much as nine at 65-56 with 6:50 remaining in the game.

A 14-6 run, capped by a Perry trey, brought WSU to within two at 71-69 with 2:05 left. Washington closed out the game on a 6-0 run, with all the points coming by way of free throws.

Both teams converted 27 field goals - Washington on four fewer attempts. The difference proved to be from the charity stripe as Washington made 18-of-25 free throw attempts while WSU was 9-of-11 from the line.

Washington turned the ball over a season-high 21 times as WSU forced 11 steals, the third time this season the Cougars have recorded 11 or more steals in a game.

'It was uncharacteristic of our team to see those kind of turnovers but we are getting so much better defensively and that is a good sign,' said Washington coach June Daugherty.

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