Lia Galdeira cut through the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball championships just like she used to on the Big Island Interscholastic Federation level.
Galdeira set a tournament record with 75 points before Washington State bowed out in the semifinals Saturday night with a 70-60 loss to Oregon State in Seattle.
The Cougars dodged a bullet 3½ minutes into the game, when Galdeira went down hard after a missed layup and was writhing on the floor while clutching her left wrist. The 2012 Konawaena graduate came out of the game and got the wrist taped up before returning to action less than five minutes later.
“Gutsy kid. She’s a warrior,” Washington State coach June Daugherty said of Galdeira, who was expected to undergo X-rays late Saturday night or early Sunday. “You could tell she was in a lot of pain.”
Galdeira finished with 16 points one night after she went for a game-high 28 as the Cougars upset No. 20 Cal 91-83 in the quarterfinals, scoring 17 in the second half to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and a career-high 13 of 16 at the free-throw line.
Galdeira did it all in front of parents Kunia an Momi, who flew in from Hawaii.
“It’s about time they come watch a game. It’s like the first game my dad watched and second or third for my mom,” Galdeira joked in Pac-12 Network interview while flanked by her parents. “No, its fine. I kind of grew out of that, but it’s great having them here.”
Fellow 2012 Wildcats graduate Dawnyelle Awa scored two points and six rebounds in the semifinals.
On Thursday, Galdeira posted 31 points in Washington State’s 107-100 victory against Oregon. Awa finished with eight assists, including one to set up Galdeira for a key 3-pointer late in the game.
“Kind of like in high school, it’s how we played,” Galdeira said. “I knew the passes were coming before they had been. Dawn, she’s crazy. It took a whole year, and now everyone’s comfortable and knows the ball is coming at times. But I just saw her driving, and I mean three, four girls started to come on her, and she just threw it without looking and I stepped back. I didn’t want to take the two, so I guess I just shot the three.”
Said Daugherty: “I think Dawny Awa never gets the credit. But she’s the straw that stirs the drink. There is just no doubt about it. Fun to see her have eight assists and have the kind of game that she had tonight.”
Stanford’s Nnemkadi Qgwumike held the previous tournament record of 71 points in 2002.
The Cougars (17-16) likely needed to win the Pac-12 to have a chance to reach the NCAA tournament, but the brackets for the WNIT and Women’s Basketball Invitational will be unveiled March 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report