MINNEAPOLIS – Freshman guard Lia Galdeira set a Washington State freshman single-game record with 33 points as the Cougars dropped their season-opener 87-83 in double overtime to the University of Minnesota at the Best Buy Classic Saturday.
Washington State shot 42.5 from the floor and scored 27 points off of 29 Minnesota turnovers but surrendered a 55-39 rebounding advantage. The Golden Gophers, WBI champions last season, made 49 trips to the free throw line while the Cougars went 14-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Galdeira went 12-for-27 from the field and 7-of-8 at the free throw line. The Hawaii native also grabbed three rebounds and five steals in her collegiate debut. Junior forward Sage Romberg was the lone other Cougar to reach double figures, finishing with 13 points to along with her seven boards and five assists. Junior guard Brandi Thomas added eight points and sophomore guard Tia Presley notched seven points and five assists.
Galdeira kept the Cougars in it during the first half, scoring 12 points in the first 20 minutes. WSU and Minnesota traded leads before UM closed the period with a 10-2 run and went into the break leading 26-19.
WSU opened the second half with five quick points on a bucket from Romberg and a three from Galdeira. Midway through the second half, the Cougars used a 6-0 run to cut the Golden Gophers lead to two with 7:42 remaining. WSU used two jumpers from Minnesota native Hana Potter and a layin from Thomas that brought WSU within two, 47-45.
The Cougars stayed within two buckets for the next couple minutes before a Romberg three again cut the lead to two with 24 seconds remaining. The Golden Gophers went on to hit two free throws, Galdeira then drove the lane, got fouled, and hit both free throws to keep it a two point game, 65-63 Minnesota with 16 seconds left.
WSU fouled again but UM only hit one of two at the line and Romberg tied the game with a three in the corner with seven seconds remaining. Minnesota missed its three-point attempt at the buzzer.
The Cougars opened the first overtime with six straight points from Galdeira but the Golden Gophers came back with seven of their own to take a 73-72 lead with 56 seconds left. Romberg gave WSU the lead, 75-73 with a driving layup and free throw after she was fouled on the play. Minnesota tied things up at 75 with a pair of free throws and both teams came up short in their final possessions that sent the game to its second overtime.
UM opened the final period with four straight points but Thomas connected from behind the arc to cut the UM lead to 79-78 with 2:54 left. Galdeira followed with a steal and jumper to give WSU a one point advantage with just over a minute remaining.
Minnesota answered with a pair of buckets but it was Galdeira, again, who gave WSU a chance, converting on all three of her free throw attempts after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt to bring WSU within one.
Following a Minnesota timeout, with time running down, WSU was forced to foul and the Golden Gophers hit both free throws to go up three. Galdeira's three-point attempt didn't fall on WSU's possession and Minnesota came down with the rebound, got fouled and sealed things up with another free throw.
Washington State made 17 steals and dished out 20 assists on its 31 field goals. Minnesota was led by guard Rachel Banham, last season's Big Ten Freshman of the Year, with 24 points while forward Micaella Riche added 29 points and 14 rebounds.
The Cougars will face the loser of the Villanova/South Dakota State matchup Sunday at 9 a.m. (PT).
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