Feb. 25, 2003
Thursday, Feb. 27
7 p.m. Pacific
Saturday, March 1
Pacific-10 Conference Tournament
San Jose, Calif.
What's Happening: The regular season concludes for the Washington State women's basketball team (1-24, 1-16 Pac-10) this week as it takes on a pair of rivals...the Cougars will play their final home game of the season against their neighbors across the border - the Idaho Vandals out of the Big West Conference...the non-conference opponents face off at Friel Court, Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m...WSU seniors Sarah Barrett and Jessica Ottmar will be recognized prior to the game...two days later, the final Pacific-10 Conference regular season game is on tap for WSU as it takes on No. 25 (AP) Washington, Saturday, March 1 at noon in Seattle...after this week's slate, the Pac-10 Tournament is next for WSU at San Jose, Calif., March 7.
Radio: Thursday's game versus Idaho will be broadcast on KQQQ AM 1150, Pullman at 6:50 p.m...Saturday's contest at Washington will air live on KRPL AM 1400, Moscow, Idaho in addition to being carried live on the net at wsucougars.com. Bob Robertson will be calling the action with the pre-game airing at 11:45 p.m.
About Idaho: The Vandals (8-15, 7-7 Big West) head into Pullman on a three-game winning streak...Alyssa Erickson (12.6 points/game) heads a list of four Vandals who are averaging double-digits in points...Heather Thoelke (12.4 points/game), Keisha Moore (11.9 points/game) and Autumn Fielding (11.8 points/game) complete the quartet...Moore leads the team in rebounding averaging 8.1 boards per game.
Idaho-WSU series: WSU leads the all-time series with Idaho 23-12; however the Vandals have won four of the last five between the two teams...the Cougars' last win was a 68-52 triumph, Dec. 2, 2000 at Pullman...WSU came back from a 13-point deficit in that game, tying it for the fourth largest comeback in school history...last season the Vandals took an 89-72 overtime win at Moscow, Dec. 5, 2001.
WSU Coach Sherri Murrell On Idaho: "I hope the rival game with Idaho will spur us for the rival game against Washington. Hopefully, we will have a lot of people come out to support the seniors. We have to switch gears for a non-conference game but one of our motivations is that we have not won a non-conference game all year. That is our motivation to win and go into Washington with a good feeling."
About Washington: Washington (20-6, 12-5 Pac-10) has won three of its last four games...four Huskies are averaging double-digits in scoring led by Giuliana Mendiola's 17.2 points a contest...Loree Payne (15.2 points/game), Andrea Lalum (10.9 points/game) and Emily Autrey (10.5 points/game) complete the contingent.
Washington-WSU series: The Cougars trail in the series with UW 46-17 and have lost the last 15 in the string...in the team's first meeting this season at Pullman, Dec. 28 the Huskies held on for a 77-69 win...WSU rallied from a 19-point first half deficit to take a second half lead before falling.
Murrell On Washington: "I think we have learned a lot since that (first) Washington game in terms of how to close a game. What is going to be real tough is Washington is great at home. We are going to have to step up our defense; they are just good from the outside. Washington shoots the three-point shot at home like it's a lay-up so we are going to have to defend that much better."
Last Week: The Cougars dropped a pair of games to the Oregon schools last week...WSU fell to Oregon 85-52, Feb. 20 and Oregon State 62-46, Feb. 22...Jessica Perry averaged 11.5 points (11 versus Oregon; 12 versus OSU) in the two games extending her consecutive game streak of scoring in double figures to three games.
Double-Digit McCall: Bianca McCall has scored in double-digits in 18 of 25 games this season...the 6-foot-1 junior forward from Santa Rosa, Calif., has recorded seven double-doubles in points and rebounds this season, which ranks third in the Pac-10...her five 20-point games is ninth in the conference...she leads the Cougars in points (12.7/game) and rebounds (8.0/game)... she is in the top 10 in the conference in five categories...McCall is second in offensive rebounds (3.60/game), third in total rebounds (8.0 rpg) and blocks (1.40/game), fifth in defensive rebounds (4.36/game) and 10th in scoring (12.7 ppg).
McCall Threatens Rebounding Record Against Wyoming: Bianca McCall grabbed 19 rebounds to tie her for the sixth-best single-game rebounding performance in WSU history in the Cougars' 82-51 loss to the University of Wyoming, Nov. 22 at Friel Court...McCall's effort tied the junior from Santa Rosa, Calif., with three other Cougars (Janet Kusler, 1976; Gail Houser, 1977; Brittney Hawks, 2001) who hit the 19-rebound mark...Jennifer Grey holds the school record with 22 rebounds in a game, having done it twice in 1975...McCall's contribution wasn't limited to the boards as she scored 18 points tying her with Lindsey Egeland for the team high point total.
20/Perry: After sitting out the first two games because of mononucleosis, Jessica Perry has started all 23 games since returning to action...at Stanford, Jan. 16, Perry poured in a career-high 25 points on a career-best nine field goals...Perry also posted a career-high tying five steals against the Cardinal...Perry's 25 points followed up a 20 point-effort against Arizona State, Jan. 11, which was just one shy of her career-high at the time... Perry leads the team in assists (3.30/game) and she is the team's second leading scorer (9.2 points/game)...she ranks seventh in the conference in assists...Perry dished out a season-high nine assists twice (Washington, Dec. 28 and at Gonzaga, Dec. 11) ...against Montana, Dec. 14 Perry pulled down a career-high nine rebounds.
Access Denied!: The eight blocks against EWU were the most since the team tallied eight rejections at California, Feb. 9, 1991...that is tied for the Pac-10 best this season...last year, WSU set a single season school record with 106 blocks...with 82 blocks, the Cougars have averaged 3.28 a game, which ranks fourth in the conference.
20 In A Row: Before its loss to USC, Feb. 1 Washington State had a player score at least 20 points in six consecutive games...Bianca McCall reached 20 or more points in four consecutive games...the streak began at California, Jan. 18 (24 points) and continued against Oregon State (20 points), Oregon (20 points) and concluded against UCLA, Jan. 30 (21 points)...prior to McCall's streak, JessicaPerry scored 20 and 25 points against Arizona State, Jan. 11 and Stanford, Jan. 16, respectively...the six-game streak marked the longest run since a six-game stretch during the 1995-96 season.
Harris Joins Team: Holly Harris posted a season-high 15 points against Arizona State, Feb. 6...she made her Cougar basketball debut against Utah, Dec. 21...Harris scored eight points and pulled down three rebounds in 15 minutes of action versus the Utes...Harris pulled down a season-high nine rebounds against USC, Feb. 1...she is averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18 games...Harris joined the team after a stellar run with the volleyball team...she was a member of a Cougar team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament...the Cougars were eliminated by Florida on the Gators' home floor in four games, Dec. 14...Harris earned a Pac-10 honorable mention selection in volleyball...she finished in the top seven on the school's career list in block assists (fifth - 333); total blocks (sixth - 384); and block solos (seventh - 53).
Montana Homecoming: Junior Lindsey Egeland turned in a solid performance in front of her hometown fans at Missoula, Mont., Dec. 14...Egeland scored six points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out four assists against Montana...Egeland, who was a four-year letterwinner at Missoula's Sentinel High School, is averaging 6.8 points a game...she is the only Cougar to have started all 25 games this season.
Fields Earns All-Tournament Honors At FIU Classic: Candace Fields earned an all-tournament team selection at the FIU/Herald Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 29-30 at Miami, Fla...in two games, Fields averaged 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds...Fields recorded her second career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds against No. 3 LSU...Fields followed that with a team-high 11 points and seven rebounds against Virginia Tech...her other double-double was a 12-point, 12-rebound performance against Montana last year...Fields is the team's third leading scorer (7.4 points/game).
Cougar Net Notes: WSU's strength of schedule ranking is currently seventh in the WBCA/Summerville RPI ratings...that rating has been as high as second during the season...the crowd of 697 that attended the Jan. 25 game versus Oregon was the largest to witness a WSU home game since 712 came to see the Cougars defeat California, 74-59, Feb. 24, 2001...the Cougars have averaged an attendance of 501 in their 12 home games...last season, one conference game (Washington, 75-68, Jan. 25, 2002) was decided by fewer than 10 points, this season that number is five through 17 games...the 12 turnovers WSU committed against Oregon State was a season-low...that marked the fewest turnovers since the team committed 10 against Michigan, Dec. 7...10 Cougars have hit double-digits in points in at least one game...in addition, 10 players have started at least one game...before the Dec. 14 Montana game, the opposition had shot no worse than 44.6 percent in the first six games...the Lady Griz shot 30.4 percent (21-of-69), a season-low by the opposition... the Cougars have been out-rebounded in 18 of 23 games...the five games in which WSU did out-rebound its opponent were against No.3 LSU (29-24), Montana (46-40), Oregon (43-39), UCLA (48-38) and Oregon State (46-42)...one game (Oregon State, Jan. 23) both teams tied with 41 boards...last year the Cougars were out-rebounded in all but three games.
Cougars Break Losing Streak: Bianca McCall posted a game-high 20 points and Lindsey Egeland added 17 to lead the Washington State women's basketball team to a 67-64 win over the California Bears, Feb. 13.
The win snapped the Cougars' school record 45-game losing streak, which was the second longest in NCAA Division I history. It marked the first victory for the program since Nov. 29, 2001 when WSU defeated Gonzaga 80-72 at Pullman. It also halted a 34-game Pac-10 losing skid as the Cougars registered their first conference win since Feb. 24, 2001, a 74-59 triumph over, coincidentally, Cal in Pullman.
"When you get punched in the head 21 times it's fun to get that one blow back," said WSU coach Sherri Murrell, who recorded her first career coaching victory as a Cougar. "It's been two years for our players. It's been a long time coming and I am so proud of them.
"We've been way too close all season long. It is great for this program," added Murrell.
After concluding the opening 20 minutes with a 29-25 lead, WSU quickly opened up a 38-29 advantage at the 17:11 mark of the second half.
Cal scored 11 of the next 16 points to pull within 43-40 at the 12:56 mark. WSU extended its lead back to seven at 49-42 but a 9-2 Cal run brought the Bears back to 51-49 with 6:20 left. On three occasions Cal pulled to within one and finally took the lead at 58-57 courtesy of a Leigh Gregory bucket with 2:04 left.
But McCall immediately responded with a three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 60-58 lead.
"I was open," said McCall of her three-pointer. " I do work on the shot in practice. It was a big shot and I was ready to take it. I wanted the win."
McCall also added eight boards and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Bears tied it at 60 on a Kiki Williams' basket but an Egeland trey propelled WSU to a lead it would not relinquish at 63-60 with 1:15 left.
A pair of Williams' free throws brought Cal to within 63-62 but four free throws (two each by McCall and Egeland) gave the Cougars a five-point advantage at 67-62.
A bucket by Cal's Renee Wright sliced the Cougars' lead to 67-64 but WSU was able to run the clock out when in bounding the ball.
WSU shot 24-of-52 (46.2 percent) for the game including 12-of-24 in the second half. Cal was even better in the second half with a 14-of-25 (56 percent) performance but was 10-of-29 in the first half.
In addition, the Cougars were 14-of-18 from the line including 10-of-11 in the second half.
"We've been in this position too many times and came up short," said Egeland. "When we hit that 10-minute mark in the second half, we all looked at each other because we know that is the time when teams go on runs. We all said we are winning this game. We weren't panicking or anything. We were just ready to get it done."
A Loooong Holiday Weekend: Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be a little longer than WSU anticipated...the Cougars already had a long day of traveling in store for them, Sunday, Dec. 1 as they were returning to Pullman from Miami, Fla...that day was made longer when the plane bound for Pullman, which was scheduled to arrive in Pullman at 6 p.m. was unable to land in the city due to fog...the plane turned around and returned to Seattle, landing at 7:30 p.m...the airline arranged a bus for the Palouse-bound passengers, which departed Sea-Tac airport at 10:30 p.m...five hours later, at 3:30 a.m., the bus arrived at the Pullman-Moscow airport...in all, the Cougars' return trip from Miami lasted a total of 25 hours from its 5:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) departure from the Miami hotel to the arrival at the Pullman airport.
Cougars Add Three During Early Signing Period: WSU Coach Sherri Murrell signed three players - Vasha Adams, Adriane Ferguson and Nicole Stratton - to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in November. Ferguson, a 6-foot guard from Mead High School in Spokane, Wash., becomes the first player from the Greater Spokane League to choose WSU since 1985 (Lynda Clegg, Central Valley). Stratton is a 5-foot-11 guard from Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Adams is a 6-foot-1 forward from Clarendon College in Clarendon, Texas. Ferguson enters her senior season coming off consecutive All-GSL First Team selections. Her first team nod as a sophomore marked only the sixth time that a sophomore earned a first team selection in GSL history. Her 15.2 points per game average was the third best in the GSL last year. She also started for the Spokane Stars AAU team this past summer averaging 8.1 points a squad that compiled a 33-6 record. Stratton, whose sister, Jessika, is a guard at Baylor University, earned an All-State Honorable Mention selection last year and was an all-league second team pick the past two years. Last year, Stratton led Coronado in points (14 per game), assists (six per game) and steals (five per game). Additionally, Stratton served as a torch-bearer for the Winter Olympics flame's journey to Salt Lake City. Adams, who will transfer to WSU from Clarendon College, entered her sophomore season as the third ranked power forward in All-Star Girls Report's pre-season junior college player rankings. In addition, Adams was No. 34 in the publication's junior college overall player pre-season rankings.