Coach-less Cougs down Sun Devils

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SEATTLE — Washington State assistant coach Mike Daugherty is good at following orders.

His wife, head coach June Daugherty, started feeling pain in her side after the team’s shoot-around before its Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament debut on Thursday. The team physician said it may be acute appendicitis, putting the couple in a taxi to the hospital.

“She told me not to go — and I just do whatever she says,” Mike said. “She said win the game, so I did that. So, I’m good. I’ve been listening to her for 24 years.”

There was empathy as the news spread around KeyArena on Thursday, many knowing how excited Daugherty was to coach her Cougars in the inaugural conference tournament in Seattle. With her husband at the helm, eighth-seeded WSU defeated ninth-seeded ASU 48-41.

Daugherty was out of surgery by the end of the win. She is expected to be released today and her husband said if she’s able to get to the hotel, she’ll coach WSU (11-19) in its second-round matchup against top-seeded Stanford today at 6 p.m.

WSU was down 25-22 early in the second half when freshman Lia Galdeira put on a show. She scored a layin then hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to ignite a 19-4 run to lead 41-29 with 7:41 remaining in the game.

Galdeira scored 12 of her final 17 points in the second half and also had five rebounds.

WSU players were notified of their coach’s diagnosis during a pregame meal.

Daugherty has never missed a game in her 24-year career. Before WSU, she coached 11 seasons at Washington, taking the Huskies as far as the Elite Eight.

“It being at KeyArena, our nerves got the best of us in the first half,” freshman forward Mariah Cooks said. “We used June as motivation, to push us.”

WSU was 5 for 23 from the field to enter the break trailing 18-13. The 13 points is a Pac-12 tournament low. The previous mark was 14 by both Oregon State and Arizona in 2008 and California in 2003.

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