SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Freshman guard Lia Galdeira scored 16 points and sophomore guard Tia Presley added 14 for Washington State University who dropped a 64-51 decision to Syracuse University at the Carrier Dome Friday.
The Cougars had their record slip to 3-7 after shooting 31.7 percent from the floor while Syracuse improved to 11-1 after scoring 38 points in the paint and shooting 42.1 percent from the field.
Redshirt-junior guard Ireti Amojo opened WSU's scoring with a three from the left wing. Minutes later, Presley got her runner in the lane to fall and Galdeira followed with a three from the right corner to give WSU a 12-10 lead.
Syracuse, an WNIT semifinal participant last season, answered back with a 13-0 run over a five minute stretch to take a 24-12 advantage at the 6:42 mark.
The Cougars called a couple timeouts to slow the momentum and began to chip away at the Syracuse lead. Senior forward Carly Noyes scored on back-to-back possessions as WSU broke the Orange' pressure defense. Galdeira then added a jumper from the left elbow before she split two defenders and finished the drive with a layin. Presley capped the Cougars 10-3 run and closed the half with a pair of free throws to cut the Syracuse lead to 27-22.
Washington State received baskets from junior guard Brandi Thomas and Presley to cut the Orange' lead to six early in the second half but Syracuse withstood the Cougars pressure and put together a couple deciding scoring runs. SU answered with a 10-0 run that later grew into 15-6, extending the lead to 51-34 with 7:49 remaining.
WSU didn't go away and dialed up the defensive pressure that sparked a 7-0 run as Galdeira hit a three, Presley added a jumper and Amojo finished a fast break with a layup. The Cougars continued their comeback attempt in the closing minutes with a pair of free throws from Presley and two jumpers from freshman Taylor Edmondson to cut it to 11.
The Orange held tough the final couple possessions as two WSU three's rattled off the rim and Syracuse posted a 64-51 victory.
WSU forced 20 turnovers but surrendered a 41-35 rebounding advantage. Galdeira also grabbed a team-high six rebounds and made two steals.
The Cougars will have the Christmas holiday off before heading to Spokane to face Gonzaga University Dec. 29. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. and will be televised by SWX.