When it was done, the Cougars celebrated like it was, well, 1995 (the last time WSU beat UW). They hugged, hollered and hooted. Head coach June Daugherty, who piled up a mountain of those UW series wins during her 11 seasons at Montlake, took to the PA to thank the crowd and laud her players.
The win improves the Cougars to 9-6 overall. They'll be back in action Saturday against these very same Huskies when the two teams tip off in Seattle.
Washington brought a 36-game series win streak into the game but the Cougars came out firing and built a 13-point lead early in the second half behind the shooting of guard Lia Galdeira.
Alas, when WSU starting point guard Tia Presley was whistled for her third foul on a suspect call and then subsequently was teed up with a fourth for protesting, the momentum swung in titanic fashion. The Huskies proceeded to hit a barrage of treys and tied the score at 51, setting the table for a nail-biter right to the very end.
Presley sat out roughly 10 minutes of the second half, but made her presence known shortly after coming back in when she canned a long trey to put the Cougars up 76-71 with 4:10 left. She finished the game with 13 points.
Cougar center Shalie Dheensaw turned in a game for the ages, pulling down 14 rebounds, scoring 11 points and blocking two shots. She had three critical rebound-and-putbacks down the stretch, with one of those combos coming with 43 seconds left to put WSU ahead 80-78.
Galderia, meanwhile, led the way with 28 points, including what proved to be the game-winning free throws in the waning seconds. She was 11-of-23 from the field and 3-for-4 at the line. She also posted 4 steals, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
With Presley sidelined for much of the second half, the Cougars' bench played a key role in the win, collectively scoring 20 points, and grabbing 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Senior Brandi Thomas paced group, hitting 3-of-4 from the field, including a long three-point that gave the Cougars a 66-63 lead. Mariah Cooks and Taylor Edmondson added 5 each off the bench, and Alexis Williamson 3. Hana Potter added a rebound.
Starting senior forward Sage Romberg scored 10 points, including a key bucket late, and pulled down 6 rebounds and blocked 4 shots, while sophomore Dawnyelle Awa dished 6 assists and had 3 rebounds and 3 steals.