Cougars Open Season With 61-48 Win Over Boise State

Nov. 19, 2004

Just call it 'career-best' night at Beasley Coliseum Friday.

In the season opener for the Washington State women's basketball team, career-high efforts from Kate Benz, Emma Joneby and Jessica Perry propelled the Cougars to a 61-48 win over the Boise State Broncos.

Benz posted a double-double with a career-high 23 points along with 11 rebounds. Joneby tallied her first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 10 rebounds. Last but not least, Perry recorded a career-high seven steals to go along with her seven points, five rebounds and five assists.

Benz's achieved her point total on 10-of-14 shooting with 15 of her points coming in the second half. Of Benz's 11 rebounds, nine were on the offensive end. Benz's double-double was the fourth of her career.

In keeping with a trend set in the exhibition season, WSU out-rebounded Boise State 50-29 including 26-8 on the offensive end. In their two exhibition games, the Cougars out-rebounded their opponents by a 103-69 margin.

In winning their second consecutive season opener, (WSU defeated Fresno State 69-51 last year in Pullman) the Cougars had to overcome a first half in which the team scored 22 points on 8-of-30 shooting from the field.

WSU was able to stay in the game by allowing Boise State 26 first half points, out-rebounding BSU 23-14 and hitting all six of its free throw attempts during the opening 20 minutes.

Additionally, although the Cougars committed 16 first half turnovers they forced the Broncos into 14 of their own. For the game, WSU had 22 turnovers while BSU committed 26.

'We you shoot 26 percent you better get on the boards,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said. 'I tell the kids there are three areas that we got to win ballgames with: rebounds, free throw line and turnovers. We had 22 turnovers but we had 16 in the first half and took care of it the second half. We caused 26 turnovers. All three of those categories we won the ballgame with.

'We're shooting 26 percent and they only had 26 points at half,' Murrell continued. 'Our defense was gold because our offense wasn't doing anything. Finally our offense picked up.'

Down by four at the half, the Cougars outscored Boise State 39-22 in the second half. In addition, the Cougars bested the Broncos 27-15 on the glass in the second half, including 15-5 on the offensive end.

The Broncos maintained their four-point advantage at 40-36 with 10:19 remaining but four consecutive WSU points brought the Cougars to a 40-40 deadlock at the 8:30 mark.

The teams traded leads and ties over the next three and a half minutes. With the game tied at 46 the Cougars scored nine consecutive points, five by Ariana Scales, to take a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.

Tasha Harris led Boise State with 19 points, the only Bronco to score in double figures. The 48 points allowed by WSU were the fewest since the team defeated Vermont 69-47, Nov. 26, 2000.

WSU returns to action at Nebraska, Monday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. Pacific.