SALT LAKE CITY - Washington State University dropped its regular season road finale 59-47 to the University of Utah at the Jon M. Huntsman Center Sunday.
Freshman guard Lia Galdeira led Washington State (10-17, 6-10 Pac-12) with 14 points and redshirt-senior guard Katie Grad added seven points. Utah improved to 16-11 overall and 7-9 in conference play after shooting 42.9 percent and posting a 45-24 rebounding advantage. WSU was held to 37.5 percent from the field and scored 16 points off of 16 Utah turnovers.
"We came out with great energy and focus. We executed great on offense against a tough defense but Utah I thought won a lot of 50-50 balls in the second half," head coach June Daugherty said. "We did a good job on their post players in the first half but they got going in the second half.
Galdeira opened the game with a three from the left wing and junior forward Sage Romberg followed with a runner off the glass for an early WSU lead. Midway through the half, the Cougars used a 6-0 spurt to build a five-point lead. Redshirt-junior guard Ireti Amojo finished off a drive with a layin, Galdeira then made a steal and went coast-to-coast for a spinning runner before sophomore forward Shalie Dheensaw connected on jumphook from the left block.
Minutes later Cooks gave WSU an eight-point lead with a three from the left corner at the 7:51 mark.
The Utes caught fire in the final minutes, putting together a 9-0 run and finished the half with a 16-4 streak over the final 6:54 to take a 29-24 advantage into the break. The Cougars shot 26.7 percent in the first 20 minutes but Utah knocked down 50 percent of its shots to own a five-point lead.
The Cougars cut the Utah lead to three in the opening minutes of the second half after five straight points from Galdeira. The Utes countered with four straight but redshirt-senior guard Katie Grad knocked down a three from the right wing to keep the Cougars within four at the 16:29 mark.
Midway through the half, the Cougars continued to hang around after receiving layups from Galdeira and freshman guard Alexas Williamson cut the Utah lead to seven with 7:15 remaining.
Utah's defense buckled down on the next couple possessions and forced WSU into some tough shots and then used a 10-0 run to build a double-digit lead and pull away.
Washington State returns to Pullman to close out the regular season the University of California Thursday and Stanford University Saturday.