LINCOLN, Neb. – Coach June Daugherty knew she had a good three-point shooting team. It took until Saturday for her Washington State Cougars to really prove the point.
The Cougars made a season-high 12 shots from beyond the arc and held off Nebraska twice after building big leads in a 76-72 upset of the No. 10 Cornhuskers.
It was WSU’s first victory over a Top 10 team since it beat 10th-ranked Arizona 64-61 on Jan. 8, 1998, in Tucson.
“Honestly, not to be boastful, this is what I know this team can do,” Daugherty said. “We went to Europe in August and this is what we were doing. We hadn’t found our rhythm from the three-point line, although we have some very good shooters. The key for us was, we were moving the basketball better tonight.”
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The Cougars (4-4) made 9 of 17 threes in the first half while getting out to a 45-38 lead. It was 58-40 early in the second after Lia Galdeira and Sage Romberg combined for three more three-pointers.
“Right now we’re playing defense like we hope they miss, as opposed to let’s make them miss,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said.
The Cornhuskers (6-1) made it a one-point game late but couldn’t finish the comeback before a crowd of 5,933.
“A lot of our girls had never played in an arena this loud, so for us to keep our composure and poise when they came back on us showed that we can hang with some of the top teams,” said WSU guard Tia Presley.
Presley, who is from Spokane, scored a team-high 17 points. Galdeira added 14 points.
Jordan Hooper led Nebraska with 24 points but was 6 of 27 from the field.
“They go 12 for 25 from the three-point line and we have the same shots and go 4 for 18,” Yori said. “There you go.”
WSU shot 43 percent from the field, compared with 36 percent for the Cornhuskers, who had a 16-0 run in the first half.
Daugherty said, “We reminded them that it’s a game of runs and they’re a great team, ranked 10th in the country for a reason, and undefeated.
“We’re going to make our runs, too.”
Presley made two free throws to give WSU a 74-69 lead with 14 seconds left. Hooper connected on a three, but Shalie Dheensaw of the Cougars made two free throws with 4.6 seconds to play for her only points of the game.
Dheensaw had 11 rebounds.
No. 24 Zags romp
SPOKANE – Lindsay Sherbert, a junior transfer from California, had a career-high 22 points in her fifth game at Gonzaga, an 81-31 rout of Colgate for the No. 24 Zags.
It is the fewest points allowed in the history of the program. Early in the second half, Sherbert had 17 points and Gonzaga (4-1) had a 44-16 lead.
• In games involving Pac-12 teams other than WSU, No. 14 Colorado beat Rice 75-58; No. 20 California topped Idaho 59-55; Marquette beat Utah 72-65; Arizona State edged Arkansas State 69-66; Florida defeated Oregon State 73-70; UCLA downed Grand Canyon 62-60; USC beat Boston College 79-52; and Brigham Young defeated Arizona 64-56.