Lia Galdeira leads Washington State to thrilling win over Oregon in Pac-12 tourney first round
SEATTLE – The Tia and Lia show was in full effect for Washington State on Thursday as the 2015 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament started off with a bang from KeyArena.
The Cougars outlasted Oregon with a thrilling 66-64 first-round win to advance to the quarterfinals, where they will meet No. 2 Arizona State on Friday at 11:30 a.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks.
A Lia Galdeira three with 2:29 to play put WSU on top 66-60 and looked to seal the win, but Oregon responded.
Drea Toler’s steal and layup made it a two-point game with 1:05 remaining.
The Cougars drained the clock on the ensuing possession, but had to settle for a contested Dawnyelle Awa shot as the shot clock expired. She missed and Alleyne hauled in the rebound, setting the stage for the dramatic final act.
Toler missed a tough reverse layup with five seconds on the clock, and WSU secured the rebound. But the drama wasn’t over.
Galdeira was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw and Oregon snagged the rebound to set up one final shot.
The desperation three banked in, but only after the final buzzer had sounded.
"Back in my day it was a barn burner, that's what they called it," WSU head coach June Daugherty said after the game. "Back and forth, and the ties, five minutes to go, and both teams battling it out as far as both teams played."
This meeting was the rematch of a first-round contest from last year’s tournament, but looked nothing like it. The 2014 meeting was a record-shattering offensive display: Washington State won 107-100, with Galdeira and Tia Presley each scoring 31 points.
This time around, Galdeira poured in a career-high 34 points while Presley chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.
"Lia put on the Superwoman cape again and said, 'Let me take it from here,'" Daugherty said of Galdeira's impressive outing.
A rough-and-tumble first half saw Oregon turn the ball over 11 times, yet still claw its way to a 38-33 lead after 20 minutes.
Hot shooting helped Oregon overcome the early sloppiness and a slow start from Alleyne. The Ducks finished the half shooting 64 percent to the Cougs’ 40 percent.
With 2:31 left in the first frame, WSU’s Louise Brown knocked down a jumper to give the Cougs a 30-29 lead.
Oregon responded by ripping off nine straight before Brown’s last-second three to beat the first half buzzer cut the deficit to 38-33.
Even halftime couldn't cool down Galdeira. Early in the second half, the junior guard drilled triples on back-to-back Cougar possessions to ignite a 13-0 run that gave WSU a 48-44 lead with 12:45 to play.
"Lia Galdeira is definitely a player I look up to," Oregon freshman guard Lexi Bando said after the game. "She played an amazing game and hit some tough shots that I didn't even think would go in."
All-Pac-12 Ducks forward Jillian Alleyne came to life after the Cougar run and single-handedly brought her team level at 48. She finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, notching her 28th double-double of the season, but could only watch as the Tia and Lia show scored all but two of the Cougs' final 18 points after the contest was knotted at 48. Unfortunately for the Oregon junior, those 18 points from Galdeira and Presley were just enough to end what she felt was a successful season.
"I think that I've made a lot of leaps and bounds and that is because of my teammates and coaches," Alleyne said. "Ultimately, our record is 13-17 and I think that is the best 13 games we as a team have played since I've been here at Oregon."
Up next for the Cougars is a rematch with the second-seeded Sun Devils in Friday's Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals. Tipoff is 11:30 a.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks.
In their only regular-season meeting, WSU came up short in Tempe, falling to ASU 78-64. Coach Daugherty thinks her team is ready to exact some revenge.
"We didn't play our best basketball down in the desert," Daugherty said of the Jan. 5 matchup. "With Arizona State, you have to handle their pressure defense, move the basketball. But I think we're going to be up to it and we're looking forward to the challenge."
With electric guards Galdeira and Presley at the top of their game, it is hard to bet against the Cougars right now, no matter the matchup.