PULLMAN — Kristi Kingma isn’t expecting to play organized basketball after her career at Washington.
She underwent reconstructive surgery on her right knee in 2011. And she’s anticipating another procedure on the knee this spring. For the Mill Creek native, this season is it.
And there was no way a loss to Washington State was going to be part of her résumé.
Kingma calmly made five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal a 79-72 win against WSU on Sunday. Her Huskies swept the Cougars this season, winning 60-53 on Tuesday, and have won 36 consecutive games against their in-state rivals overall.
“I just wanted it so badly,” Kingma said of her mindset with every free throw. “I feel the pressure (of this rivalry) every game. This is one of the best feelings to walk out of here with a win.”
WSU freshman forward Mariah Cooks walked the Beasley Coliseum corridor with puffy eyes from crying. For the native Californian and her Cougar teammates, the game was just another matchup they needed to win.
Washington (12-5, 4-2) appeared to have a weakness, too. Sophomore point guard Jazmine Davis, the team’s leading scorer (20.6), was knocked in the head by an elbow on a drive to the hoop with 10:49 remaining in the second half and WSU (5-12, 1-5) leading 57-53.
Washington coach Kevin McGuff substituted freshman guard Heather Corral for Davis as precaution for a possible concussion. With the floor leader seated at the end of the bench, Kingma stepped in.
“Being on the road and down with 10 minutes to go, I needed to be a voice that said, ‘We can still do this,’ “ she said of her huddle with teammates.
Corral’s first two shots were three-pointers from in front of the Huskies bench to help build a 64-61 lead with 6:23 remaining. It just wasn’t enough to rattle Cooks.
She teamed with sophomore guard Tia Presley in the second half to cut WSU’s deficit to 74-70 with 1:53 remaining. Cooks, Presley and freshman Lia Galdeira combined to miss five consecutive shots, nullifying the work on defense to keep UW from scoring.
WSU coach June Daugherty started to foul to gain possession of the ball. But Kingma kept making the shots.
The Cougars’ final attempt was down 77-72 with Galdeira at the free-throw line. She was fouled on a three-point shot and missed all three free throws to end WSU’s chances at snapping the streak.
Presley had a team-high 15 points and four steals while Cooks and Galdeira combined for 26 points and 11 rebounds. Davis led the Huskies with 18 points and sophomore Aminah Williams had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“For whatever reason, this rivalry, the intensity, every game it escalates,” said Kingma, who finished her final conference game against WSU with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. “WSU’s going to be good for years to come and June is a good coach. At least from my side, we’re (fellow senior Jeneva Anderson) getting out of here without a loss.”