10:00 PM ET, February 16, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- A cold front swept through here Thursday night, but Washington State coach Sherri Murrell was plenty hot after another night of frigid shooting by her team."We don't even look like we practice," Murrell said after Oregon State held the Cougars to 32 percent shooting in the Beavers' 59-50 victory.Kim Butler led Oregon State (12-11, 6-9 Pac-10) with 18 points. Keisha Moore topped Washington State (7-17, 1-14) with 14 points.Murrell questioned the leadership and focus of her team after its fourth straight loss. WSU is 1-16 since starting the season 6-1."I think I've lost my kids. They're on their own agenda," Murrell said. "When they decide they need some help, they ask us."The Cougars, last in the Pac-10 with 61 points per game, tied a season low by scoring just 18 points in the first half. WSU shot 25 percent (8 for 32) from the field in the opening half, including 10 percent (1 for 10) on 3-pointers, and hit 14 percent (1 for 7) at the free-throw line."We had six missed layups in the first half and I don't know how many in the second half," Murrell said."There was a lack of fire and intensity (in the first half)," WSU forward Kate Benz said.The Cougars, headed for their 10th consecutive losing season, trailed 32-18 at the half and 45-28 midway through the second half before pulling within four with 2:21 left. The Cougars went cold down the stretch, and the Beavers wrapped things up at the free-throw line."It seems like it's always too little too late," said Benz, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds."We played pretty good defense in the first half," Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner said. "We were the aggressors in the first half."Oregon State point guard Mandy Close played her usual 40 minutes and contributed 12 points and five assists. She also pressured WSU's inexperienced guards, including freshman Amanda DuRocher, who scored four points on 2-for-13 shooting."We knew coming in that one of the keys would be pressure," Close said. "I just took that to the fullest.""Mandy Close is a senior who's playing hard and knows how to win," Murrell said.The Beavers shot 42 percent from the field and 80 percent at the free-throw line. Washington State hit just 32 percent from the floor and a season-low 44 percent at the line.Casey Nash recorded a career-high 14 rebounds for the Beavers, and she tied her season high of 13 points. Anita Rivera scored 10 points despite going 4 for 16 from the field (2 for 10 on 3-pointers), and Tiffany Ducker had six points and eight rebounds and tied her career high of five blocked shots.The Beavers, 1-17 in the Pac-10 last season, were picked by league coaches to repeat their last-place finish of a year ago."I'm really proud of my team," said Wagner, a first-year head coach who spent the previous three years as an assistant at powerful Duke.Oregon State has defeated Washington State in 13 of the teams' last 14 meetings, but the Cougars pushed the Beavers to overtime before losing 68-67 on Jan. 21 in Corvallis."We played harder down there," Murrell said.
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