Aug. 4, 2005
PULLMAN, Wash. - Six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including three Sweet 16 participants, and a trip to Hawaii Thanksgiving weekend highlight the 2005-06 Washington State women's basketball schedule as announced by head coach Sherri Murrell, Thursday.
"What jumps out to me about the schedule is that it's a good mixture of home and away games," Murrell said. "We have some very challenging teams that have NCAA experience. I'm excited to play back-to-back home games to get the season started.
"The Hawaii trip is going to be a great challenge for us," Murrell added. "It will be a similar setting to the Pac-10 Tournament, where you play game after game. That's something that appealed to us as a staff."
WSU is one of eight teams participating at the Rainbow Wahine Classic, Nov. 25-27. The event will mark the second time in five years the Cougars travel to Hawaii as the team played at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort Classic in November 2001.
Along with the Cougars and host Hawaii, Cal State Northridge, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Idaho State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin will participate. Match-ups for the event have yet to be determined.
In addition to Hawaii, WSU's non-conference slate is underlined by a trip to perennial national power Minnesota, Dec. 10.
Last year, the Gophers advanced to the Sweet 16 before being knocked out by eventual national champion Baylor 64-57 in the regional semifinal.
The Gophers' Sweet 16 appearance followed up a trip to the Final Four in 2004. Last year, the Gopher boasted the WNBA's No. 1 overall draft pick when Janel McCarville was selected by the Charlotte Sting. McCarville's selection by the Sting bested teammate Lindsey Whalen's No. 4 overall selection by the Connecticut Sun in 2004.
The Cougars open the 2005-06 slate with a two game homestand in November. WSU faces Pepperdine to open the season Friday, Nov. 18 and then hosts St. Mary's (Calif.), Sunday, Nov. 20. Cal State Northridge also visits the Palouse, Friday, Dec. 2.
In addition to Minnesota and the Hawaii tournament, the Cougars are at Boise State (Dec. 4) and Eastern Washington (Jan. 3) to round out the non-conference schedule.
The conference home opener is against Stanford, Tuesday, Dec. 20. The Cardinal returns nine letterwinners from last year's team that advanced to the Elite Eight. In addition to Stanford, the Pac-10 had four other teams advance to the NCAA Tournament, including Sweet 16 participant Arizona State, which the Cougars will face on the road New Year's Eve and at home, Jan. 26. The other three Pac-10 teams that advanced to the NCAAs were Arizona, Oregon and USC.
The Pacific-10 Conference Tournament is March 3-6 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.