The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament title game drew a crowd of 4,785 to KeyArena on Sunday night, the second-highest total in the tournament’s 13-year history.
The record crowd dates to the tournament’s first year, when 5,349 at Oregon’s McArthur Court saw Arizona State defeat Stanford in 2002.
After awarding USC the championship trophy, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott praised Seattle and tournament organizers for doing “a great job.”
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USC’s 5-foot-7 junior guard Ariya Crook, with a team-high 16 points in Sunday’s win over Oregon State, was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
Two others from the title game made all-tournament: USC senior forward Cassie Harberts and Oregon State freshman forward Sydney Wiese, who had three three-pointers and 17 points.
Also on the team: Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike, who scored 30 points and gathered 21 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to USC, and Washington State sophomore guard Lia Galdeira, who scored 31 in WSU’s first-round win over Oregon.
WSU eliminated in semifinals
Late Saturday, Washington State played in a tournament semifinal for the second time in three years but again fell short of its first conference championship game, losing to Oregon State 70-60.
The Cougars (17-16), pressured by tight defense, scored just 20 points in the first half and trailed by 22 with 12 minutes to play. They narrowed the gap to eight in the final minute behind the energetic play of guards Tia Presley (18 points) and Galdeira (16). Both scored 13 in the second half.
Galdeira was sidelined in the first half by a hand injury but played aggressively in the second half, recording two steals and four offensive rebounds.
With a 44-41 rebounding edge (led by Presley’s nine), Washington State became the first team to outrebound OSU in the Beavers’ past 18 games.
On the block for Oregon State
Ruth Hamblin, Oregon State’s 6-foot-6 sophomore center and a native of Houston, B.C., had six blocked shots in Sunday’s loss, following the seven she had in the Beavers’ Saturday night semifinal win over Washington State.
The latter total set a game record for the Pac-12 tournament, and her three-game tournament total of 18 is also a tournament record.