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Cougars just two wins away from NCAA Tournament

(Photo: Washington State Athletics)

SEATTLE – Washington State started Pac-12 conference play winning five in a row. Since then, they finished the regular season 4-9, taking them out of the NCAA Tournament at-large conversation.

Perhaps that’s why this team has been playing with so much purpose in the Pac-12 Tournament.

After scoring 107 points in a first round win over Oregon, the Cougars followed it up with 91 points in a 91-83 win over No. 20 California in the quarterfinals.

In all likelihood, WSU is going to have to win this tournament (and the automatic bid that comes with it) to make the Big Dance. At this rate, they might do just that.

In their first two games, sophomore guard Lia Galdeira has scored 59 points. That already places her third in the Pac-12’s single-tournament scoring record, and she still has at least one game left.

The Cougars as a whole have made 19 three-pointers through the two contests as well. Really, at this rate, can anybody stop them with the way they are lighting up the scoreboard?

There’s Galdeira, Tia Presley, Sage Romberg, and a whole host of role players that can light it up from outside. Most importantly, they’re playing like a team.

“This, as you guys can see, is a really fun team to coach and be a part of,” Washington State head coach June Daugherty said. “Truly, not only are they talented, but they play so hard for each other and they give it their all, they really do. You know, as a coach for almost 30 years, you don’t always get this kind of pleasure of watching these kids compete the way they’re competing for each other, so we just want to keep it going. We want to keep winning and playing for a long time in March.”

Two days ago, that statement might have seem far-fetched.

Try telling them that now.

You can reach Alex Gallant on Twitter @AlexJGallant or via email at

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