Borislava Hristova scored a game-high 37 points and Washington State melted the “snowpocalypse” hitting the Palouse with hot shooting — and a 90-88 win over the UA Saturday afternoon.
The upset win by WSU, which improved to just 3-10 in league play and 8-16 overall, is crushing for an Arizona team that hopes to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats (15-8, 5-7) likely need to finish the regular season with a .500 conference record to be considered for the tournament. By beating Washington on Thursday night, Arizona secured at least a .500 regular-season record, making it eligible to compete in the WNIT if it fails to make the NCAAs.
Four Wildcats scored in double-figures on Saturday, led by Aari McDonald’s 26 points. Cate Reese scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Sam Thomas scored 16 points and Lucia Alonso scored 14 — 12 of them coming on 3-pointers late in the game.
Alonso’s shooting — and McDonald’s big plays — allowed the Wildcats to climb back into the game after trailing by nine points to start the fourth quarter. WSU led by nine again with five minutes left when the Wildcats starting clawing back. Dominique McBryde hit a layup and was fouled with 5 seconds left. She converted her free throw to make it a one-point game.
Arizona immediately fouled Washington State, and the Cougars hit one of two free throws. The Wildcats inbounded the ball to McDonald with seconds left; Arizona’s star sprinted the length of the court, pulled up for what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer and drew contact — but no foul was called. Her shot was well short.
The teams combined for 55 fourth-quarter points, the high-water mark of a hot-shooting game.
Arizona shot 54 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range, but was outplayed by the Cougars. Washington State shot 57 percent afield, with Hristova — nicknamed “Bobi Buckets” — leading the way with 37. Teammate Chanelle Molina added 28.
Arizona’s loss was double disappointing given the long way they took to get to Pullman. The Wildcats waited out a weather delay at Seattle-Tacoma Airport on Friday while the region was blanketed by snow and ice. UA coach Adia Barnes, who lived in Seattle for more than a decade, called it the worst weather she’d ever seen there. Washington’s game against Arizona State was canceled due to weather.
The Wildcats will return home this week. They’ll take on Utah Friday and Colorado on Sunday.