Eastern Washington Slides By Cougars

Dec. 18, 2004

Box Score

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State's Kate Benz recorded a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds to be among a trio of Cougars who scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough as Eastern Washington was able to withstand a second-half WSU rally to hold on for a 54-53 win over the Cougars, Saturday at Friel Court.

Adriane Ferguson led WSU (4-4) in scoring with 13 points while Keisha Moore added 11 points, including 10 in the second half, in her debut as a Cougar. The Eagles (5-3) were led by a game-high 18 points from Joanna Chadd and 13 points from Felice Moore.

Trailing 54-53 with 14 seconds left, the Cougars had a shot to win after Eastern's Julie Page missed a pair of free throws. But Page redeemed herself on the defensive end as she blocked a Charmaine Jones' shot with five seconds left. Jones grabbed the rebound but the Cougars were unable to get another shot off before time expired.

For the fourth straight game, the Cougars outscored their opponents in the second half (36-28), but WSU was unable to overcome a cold first half in which it shot 6-of-29 (20.7 percent) from the field. Eastern was able to take advantage, converting 12-of-25 attempts (48 percent) from the field en route to capturing a 26-17 halftime lead.

'It's been happening all year,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said of the team's first half. 'We come out flat in the first half and then we wait until the second half to pour it on. We just don't attack.

'Eastern Washington did a great job,' Murrell added. 'They sagged off us and took away the drive. Our shooters were not taking the outside shot. They were trying to force it.'

Trailing by as much as 13 in the early stages of the second half, the Cougars used a 15-0 run to transform a 37-25 deficit to a 40-37 advantage with 9:23 left. During the run, WSU was 5-of-9 from the field and made 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Eastern responded with five straight points of its own to retake the lead at 42-40 with 7:53 remaining. From then on, neither team was separated by more than two points until a Page bucket put Eastern up 54-50 with 28 seconds left.

EWU's four-point lead was short lived as Jones, who finished with nine points, hit a 3-pointer to bring WSU to within one at 54-53 with 14 seconds remaining.

In her first game in a Cougar uniform, Moore scored one point in the first half but came alive in the final 20 minutes shooting 5-of-8 from the field. During WSU's run, Moore scored six straight points to bring the Cougars from a 37-30 deficit to within one at 37-36.

'I thought she did an outstanding job for being her first game,' Murrell said of Moore. 'She showed tonight what she is going to do the rest of her time here.'

WSU continues its four-game homestand, Tuesday, Dec. 21 against Valparaiso. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Friel Court.

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