SEATTLE (CBS / AP) — Lia Galdeira drove into the lane, knew the shot clock was running down and trusted that Tia Presley open in the corner would knock down the shot.
Presley did just that, and helped send Washington State into the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.
Galdeira scored 28 points, Presley added 19 including her huge 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining as the shot clock expired, and Washington State upset No. 20 California 91-83 on Friday night in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.
“It was a total adrenaline rush. The bench exploded,” Washington State coach June Daugherty said. “We’ve looked to Tia and Lia this year for the big shots. It was fun.”
The Cougars used a 15-4 run midway through the second half to take control then held off California’s charge in the closing minutes. Washington State (17-15) snapped a five-game losing streak to California, the No. 2 seed in the conference tourney, and improved to 4-5 this year against ranked opponents.
The Cougars would likely need to win the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs, but they still have that chance thanks to a scoring binge to open the conference tourney. They scored a tournament record 107 points in beating Oregon in the opening round Thursday, then followed up with 91 against the Bears.
Sage Romberg added 16 points for the Cougars and Mariah Cooks had 12 important points off the bench, including eight during the Cougars decisive run. Washington State will face either Oregon State or Utah in the semifinals on Saturday night.
It’s the second time in the past three seasons Washington State has reached the semifinals.
“It feels really good. It shows how far this program has come since I’ve come here,” Romberg said.
Reshanda Grey led Cal (21-9) with 26 points, but second-leading scorer Brittany Boyd finished with nine points and fouled out with 6 minutes left. Gennifer Brandon finished with 20 points off the bench for California, which has lost two straight, and Afure Jemerigbe added 16.
“At some point they just continued to make plays,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We couldn’t get those stops, and it got away from us a little bit.”
Leading 63-59, the Cougars scored six straight points to take their biggest lead of the night at 69-59 with 10:25 left. Cooks scored on consecutive possessions down low and Galdeira hit a turnaround fadeaway from the low block to cap the spurt.
But Washington State’s charge didn’t stop. Brandon hit an open jumper out of a timeout, but Cooks scored again, Taylor Edmondson hit a 3 in transition and Shalie Dheensaw used every part of the rim on a 10-foot jumper for a 76-61 lead with 8:21 left.
California got back within 80-69, but Boyd fouled out after picking up two fouls more than 70 feet from the basket less than 35 seconds apart. She checked out with 6:21 left and the Bears trailing by 11. Even with their leader out, the Bears chipped away, coupled with poor clock management by Washington State.
Brandon’s three-point play with 1:55 left pulled Cal within 84-78, but Presley hit her corner 3 as the shot clock buzzer sounded to push the lead back to nine.
The Cougars avenged a 70-65 overtime loss at California a week ago.
It was the second straight season California came in as the No. 2 seed and was bounced early. Last year, the Golden Bears turned their semifinal round loss into a Final Four run in the NCAAs.
“We got spanked pretty bad here last year, and turned that into a long postseason run,” Gottlieb said. “I know our players are looking forward to getting back in the gym and fixing some things and having a chance to play basketball again.”
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