Cougars Burn Sun Devils To End Regular Season On A High Note

Feb. 28, 2004

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State's Bianca McCall scored 18 points and the freshmen duo of Adriane Ferguson and Stephanie Singer combined for 32 points to lead the Cougars to a 75-72 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils in Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball action, Saturday at Friel Court.

The win improved the Cougars to 6-21 overall and 2-16 in the Pac-10. Arizona State fell to 17-10 overall and 11-7 in conference play. WSU will enter next week's Pac-10 Tournament at San Jose, Calif., as the 10th seed. The Cougars will play No. 7 seed Oregon State in the opening game of the tournament, Friday, March 5 at 6 p.m.

Betsy Boardman led a quartet of Sun Devils in double figures with 19 points. Carrie Buckner (16 points), Kylan Loney (14 points) and Kristen Kovesdy (11 points) completed the contingent.

Singer finished with 17 points, including five in the final 2:07 of the game, while Ferguson chipped in 15 for WSU. Charmaine Jones and Nikki Stratton added nine points to the Cougars' cause.

'This is probably the (program's) most important win since I've been here,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said.

Coming off a 24-point, 18-rebound performance against Arizona, Thursday, McCall recorded her fourth straight double-digit game and her eighth in the last nine games. The senior from Santa Rosa, Calif., also added six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

'This is a great win,' McCall said. 'I can't really describe my emotions right now. I am just taking it all in. We had the determination that we knew we were winning this game and we just finished it.'

The Cougars never trailed in capturing their sixth win of the season. It wasn't easy however, as WSU held off a second-half Sun Devil rally.

Up 26-25 at the 4:27 mark of the first half, the Cougars ended the opening 20 minutes on a 16-2 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer from Ferguson with five seconds left. The Cougars forced ASU into 16 first-half turnovers.

Trailing by 15 at the half, the Sun Devils gradually chipped away at the Cougars' lead and tied the game at 63 on a 3-pointer by Loney with 5:48 remaining.

The Cougars responded immediately as Ferguson converted a 3-pointer of her own to put WSU on top for good at 66-63 with 5:22 left. Ferguson's trey sparked a 7-0 WSU run as the Cougars held a 70-63 lead with 4:04 left.

Five consecutive ASU points brought the Sun Devils to within two at 70-68 with 2:43 left but Singer made good on a 3-point play to extend the Cougars' lead back to five at 73-68.

Once again, ASU threatened with a 4-0 run to close the gap to one with 18 seconds left. However, Singer clinched the win with a pair of free throws to provide the final winning margin.

ASU's bid to tie was thwarted as a desperation 3-pointer by Amy Denson was off the mark as time expired.

'I thought the key to the game was making sure we got up even more so in the first half,' Murrell added. 'I told them that we just can't play with them, we got to put them away. We kind of fell apart in the second half but we kept it together in the end.'

The Cougars shot the lights out of Beasley Coliseum throughout as WSU finished the game 28-of-53 (52.8 percent) from the field. The Cougars were especially deadly in the second half shooting at a 59 percent (13-of-22) clip.
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