LOS ANGELES - Washington State suffered a 61-59 defeat to USC after the Trojans hit two free throws with .8 seconds remaining at the Galen Center Sunday.
A controversial foul was called after a pair of players collided while battling for a loose ball and USC's Ariya Crook sank both free throws to clinch the win. The Cougars dropped to 5-10 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play while USC improved to 7-8 and moved into a tie atop the conference standings with UCLA after winning its first four conference contests.
Sophomore guard Tia Presley scored a game-high 25 points and freshman guard Lia Galdeira added 14 for the Cougars. Redshirt-junior guard Ireti Amojo posted season-highs of seven points and six rebounds. WSU scored 18 points off of 23 USC turnovers while the Trojans connected on 20-fo-24 trips to the free throw line. Cassie Harberts led USC with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Presley opened the game scoring eight of the Cougars first 10 points as the Trojans missed their first 10 shots.
Midway through the half, Amojo sparked an 13-2 WSU run with a driving left-handed layup. Presley followed with a floater in the lane and Amojo later hit a three from straight away. Galdeira and Presley capped the run with back-to-back buckets that gave WSU ten point advantage at the 4:16 mark.
The Trojans answered by the closing the half with an 8-2 run over the final 3:26 to cut the WSU lead to four. Presley finished the first half with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting while the Cougars registered 20 points in the paint and held USC to 31.3 percent from the floor.
Both teams played at a faster pace in the second half, resulting in five more lead changes and a large amount of turnovers by both teams.
Southern California seemed to take control of the game with a 12-2 run to open up a six point lead with under eight minutes remaining but the Cougars answered with seven straight points. Junior forward Sage Romberg made all three for her free throw attempts after getting fouled on a three-point attempt, Galdeira hit two free throws and Presley capped the run with another driving layup to give WSU a 56-55 lead with 1:46 remaining.
With 53 seconds to go, USC's Crook sank two free throws for a one-point lead, Cassie Harberts put the Trojans up two with a free throw with 27 seconds left and Crook added another free throw with 20 seconds left to put USC up three.
On the ensuing possession, the Cougars swung the ball around to Galdeira at the right wing who rose up and drained a three with a defender her face to knot the game at 59 with four seconds left.
USC called timeout to set up one final play. The Trojans inbounded ball and then tried a long cross-court pass that was deflected by a WSU defender before both USC's Crook and WSU's Amojo collided while going after the loose ball. Amojo was whistled for a foul and Crook went to the line and hit both free throws for a two-point lead with .8 seconds left.
WSU quickly inbounded the ball to redshirt-senior guard Katie Grad who caught the ball at midcourt, turned and threw up a shot just that banked in but the shot came after the buzzer had sounded.
Washington State will wrap its three-game road trip Tuesday in Seattle against the University of Washington. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12