Cougars Fall To Valparaiso 56-50

Dec. 21, 2004

Box Score

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State's Kate Benz recorded her second consecutive double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Cougars' 56-50 loss to Valparaiso, Tuesday at Friel Court.

Valparaiso improved to 5-4 while WSU fell to 4-5.

Benz's point and rebounds totals were the second most of her career. Benz scored a career-high 23 points in the season-opening 61-48 win over Boise State, Nov. 19. The sophomore from Portland, Ore. pulled down 19 rebounds against San Diego State, Dec. 22, 2003. With her third double-double of the season, Benz increased her career total in that category to six.

Benz's sophomore counterpart Adriane Ferguson tallied her third consecutive double-digit scoring game with 12 points. Ferguson, who attended Mead High School of Spokane, Wash., has hit double digits in points in seven of eight games this season. In addition, Emma Joneby recorded her fifth double-digit scoring game of the season with 10 points.

Jenna Stangler led a trio of Crusaders in double figures with 16 points. Jamie Gutowski (11 points) and Tamra Braun (10 points) completed the contingent.

Up 27-23 at the half, Valparaiso scored the first four points of the second half to lengthen its lead to eight at 31-23 with 17:32 remaining.

The Cougars used a 10-1 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer from Ariana Scales, to take a 33-32 lead with 13:54 remaining.

However, the Crusaders immediately regained the advantage with a jumper by Betsy Rietema to go up 34-33 with 13:36 left. Rietema's bucket sparked a 6-0 Crusader run that gave Valparaiso a 38-33 lead with 11:45 left.

Although the Cougars made it close, pulling to within two on three occasions, Valparaiso would not relinquish its lead the remainder of the game.

The Cougars closed the deficit to 45-43 with 6:21 left, and after a trade of buckets, found themselves down 47-45 with 2:45 remaining.

A 3-pointer from Gutowski extended Valparaiso's lead to 50-45 with 1:12 left. The Crusader maintained their five-point advantage when Ferguson hit a trey to close the gap to 52-50 with 28 seconds remaining.

That would be the final points WSU scored, however, as Valparaiso clinched the game making 4-of-4 from the line to provide the final margin of victory.

'I'm proud of us,' WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said. 'Valparaiso is a good team. I've got to look at positives at this point. We have to have confidence going into Pac-10 (play). We held a really good team to 56 points. We have been doing that to opponents all year long. I thought we did some good things.'

The Cougars have held their opponents to under 60 points in three consecutive games and six total this season. Through nine games, WSU has held its opposition to an average of 59.1 points a contest.

WSU opens Pacific-10 Conference play, Monday, Dec. 27 when it hosts Arizona State. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Friel Court.
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