Washington State women reach WNIT Final Four

Cougars win fourth consecutive postseason game, downing host Iowa 74-66. They advance to play at Georgia Tech on Wednesday in the WNIT semifinals.

The Washington State women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Final Four with a hard-fought, 74-66 win at Iowa on Sunday afternoon.

The Cougars (16-19) continued their historic postseason run with their fourth straight victory, their longest streak of the season, while handing the Hawkeyes (20-14) just their fourth loss in 21 games at home at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Washington State plays Wednesday at Georgia Tech at 4 p.m. Pacific time.

The Cougars were led by guards Alexys Swedlund, who scored a game-high 20 points while the junior duo of Pinelopi Pavlopoulou and Caila Hailey put together double-double performances. Pavlopoulou finished with 13 points to go with a career-best 11 rebounds for her first-career double-double while Hailey had 10 points to go with a career-high 12 rebounds.

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Ivana Kmetovska scored 14.

In addition, Swedlund set the WSU season three-point record midway through the second quarter when she buried her 70th triple. Swedlund shot her way past Cougar great Tricia Lamb, who had 69 in 1997-98. Swedlund’s record three capped an 11-2 run by the Cougars to end the first and start the second quarter that changed the complexion of the contest.

The Cougars’ run came in response to a 12-0 run by the Hawkeyes late in the first quarter that put Iowa up by seven, their largest lead of the afternoon. Despite the run and the raucous crowd, the Cougars were able to bunker down behind their swarming defense and hold Iowa to just 11 points in the second quarter as WSU pushed ahead for good before the halftime horn. Much of the Cougars’ early success came from their relentless…

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