- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Former Gonzaga University women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves never recruited Tia Presley, even though Presley starred at nearby Gonzaga Prep.

“His loss, not mine,” the fiery Presley once said.

Presley reaped revenge on the Bulldogs on Tuesday night. Washington State’s senior guard scored 18 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with 35 seconds left, as the Cougars rallied for a 59-58 victory at Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center.

“I love coming back here,” Presley said. “They have a great fan base here at Gonzaga.”

The Cougars (7-2) trailed most of the way in a turnover-and foul-filled contest that Presley and Washington State coach June Daugherty described as “ugly.” Gonzaga (5-3) led 30-20 at the half and never relinquished the lead in the final half until Presley scored on a drive to push WSU ahead 57-56 with 35 seconds left.

“She was sick all day . she’s such a warrior,” Daugherty said.

Daugherty also lauded the courage of Lia Galdeira. Presley’s backcourt partner gave the Cougars a 59-56 lead when she hit two free throws with 6.9 seconds left after collapsing in pain at the other end of the court when she was fouled and sprained her right ankle after recording her fifth steal of the game.

Daugherty said she asked Galdeira if she wanted to shoot the free throws.

“I saw a ‘thumb up’ and a wink,” Daugherty said. “You go with your horse. I’m definitely proud of her.”

Galdeira, WSU’s leading scorer coming into the game with 20.0 points per game, suffered through a 2-for-15 shooting night and scored just nine points. Like Presley, who now leads the Cougars with a 19.6 scoring average, Galdeira dealt with foul problems.

Sunny Greinacher led the Bulldogs with a season-high 18 points, but she scored only four points after halftime and missed two free throws with 1:01 to go. Keani Albanez added 14 points, and Elle Tinkle scored a season-high 13 points and played sticky defense against Galdeira. Albanez’s layup at the final buzzer accounted for the final points before 5,363 spectators.

The Cougars won despite shooting 36.4 percent, making 20 turnovers and drawing 22 fouls. A full-court press in the second half forced many of Gonzaga’s 24 turnovers.

“The momentum switched,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “They picked it up a notch and we sort of got on our heels.”

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