PULLMAN – Last time Washington State defeated Washington in women’s basketball, most of the current Cougars were wearing diapers. Eighteen years later, the Cougars were wearing broad smiles after their remarkable 36-game losing streak to the Huskies came to a nail-biting end Tuesday evening at Beasley Coliseum.
“That streak is over!” WSU coach – and former Washington coach – June Daugherty shouted into a courtside microphone after the 82-80 victory at Beasley Coliseum. “It’s time for a new streak!”
It won’t take long for the Cougars to see if they can win two in a row against Washington for the first time since a three-year run of success in 1979-81. In a bizarre scheduling move by the Pac-12 Conference, the two arch-rivals are scheduled to meet for the second and final time this year – just four games into the 18-game league season – in their next game, Saturday at Washington (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
“It’s gonna be a war,” fiery Cougars guard Tia Presley predicted.
“I’m actually pretty ecstatic to play them again,” Washington standout Jazmine Davis said. “They outhustled us today, and they came out with the win.”
Daugherty and her players – publicly, anyway – have always played down the significance of The Streak.
“I’m just glad it’s done,” Daugherty said casually.
More noteworthy, Daugherty insists, is the fact that the long-suffering Cougars (9-6, 3-0) are tied for first in the Pac-12 with USC. A win Saturday at Washington (8-6, 1-2) would give the Cougars their first 4-0 start in conference play since the Pac-12 (then the Pac-10) added women’s basketball in 1986-87.
“The only streak or record our team is concerned about right now is our season record,” Presley said. “It’s just the third (conference) game. We still have a lot of great teams to play.”
Galdeira poured in 28 points, one more than Davis, in a showdown between two of the better guards on the West Coast. Galdeira scored 15 points to help WSU take a 42-32 lead at the half. Davis countered with 20 points in the second half, when the Huskies briefly held narrow leads before the Cougars pulled out their first win over Washington since Feb. 25, 1995 in Pullman.
Daugherty, who was quickly hired by the Cougars in 2007 after the Huskies fired her at the end of a successful 11-year run, took the high road afterwards. She complimented the Huskies on “a great second half,” and she focused most of her comments on her players rather than the losing streak.
“Now it’s done,” she said, “so we can talk about something different.
“I think it’s something she’s been working for for a long time,” Washington senior guard Mercedes Wetmore said.
“I think it’s big for her,” Presley agreed. “She’s probably more sick of hearing about the streak than anyone.”
Daugherty took over the Huskies in the second year of the streak and went 22-0 against Washington State. She was 0-12 against Washington until Tuesday.
“I think she’s a great person and a great coach . . . we completely respect her,” Wetmore said.
Galdeira and Davis certainly earned the respect of the small crowd (an announced 914, which may have doubled the actual number of fans on hand) with their sterling play. The season scoring leaders for their respective teams are tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with 19.0 points per game.
“She’s a great player,” Galdeira said of Davis – repeating the exact description Davis had for Galdeira.
“Lia is a big-time player,” Presley said.
“Jaz, she’s the most cold-blooded player (in clutch situations) I’ve ever played with,” Wetmore said.
Come Saturday, Davis hopes to add to her reputation by starting the Huskies’ next winning streak over the Cougars.