March 3, 2008
FIRST GLANCE The Washington State women's basketball team (5-24 overall, 2-16 Pacific-10 Conference) will take on Oregon (13-16 overall, 7-11 Pac-10) in the first round of the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament Friday (March 7) at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
WSU, the No. 10 seed, and Oregon, the No. 7 seed, will square off in the tournament's opening game at 6 p.m.
The winner of the matchup between the Cougars and Ducks will move on to face the tournament's No. 2 seed, California, Saturday (March 8) at 1:15 p.m.
THE COUGARS WSU is led by junior guard Katie Appleton, who ranks tied for 10th in the conference in scoring at 12.1 points per game. The Big Bear Lake, Calif., native is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the conference, ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage (40.9 percent) and seventh in 3-point field goals made (1.61 per game). She also ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in both free throw percentage (73.3 percent) and minutes (32.68 per game).
With 12 points Appleton will move into a tie for 20th on the WSU career scoring list with former Cougar Kristin Erickson (817). She currently has 805 career points. This past week Appleton hit her 45th 3-pointer of the season, moving into a tie for ninth place on the WSU all-time single-season list. Her field goal percentage from beyond the arc this season (40.9 percent) ranks sixth on the Cougar single-season list.
Junior center Ebonee Coates leads the squad in rebounding, pulling down 6.6 boards per game, and blocks (1.1 per game). The Tacoma, Wash., native is second on the team in scoring at 7.1 ppg. The last six games Coates has nearly averaged a double-double with 9.0 ppg and 9.7 rpg
Junior forward Heather Molzen (Lakeside, Calif.) has started each of the Cougars' 29 games this season, averaging 6.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
Freshman guard Kezia Kelly (Auckland, New Zealand) started 24 games this season and leads the team in assists (2.4 per game). The true freshman has averaged 9.3 ppg the last four games.
Freshman guard Jasmine Williams has played in each of WSU's 29 games this season, and started each of the last 22. The true freshman from Kent, Wash., is averaging 5.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 1.4 apg.
LAST TIME OUT This past week the Cougars faced top 10 teams California (No. 8) and Stanford (No. 7) at Friel Court in the final week of Pacific-10 Conference play.
WSU fought hard against eighth-ranked California, but the Golden Bears escaped with a 61-47 victory, Feb. 29. The Cougars forced California into 23 turnovers, the second-most by the Golden Bears this season. Junior forward Heather Molzen led a trio of Cougar scorers in double figures with 14 points. Junior guard Katie Appleton added 12 points and freshman guard Kezia Kelly scored 10.
Despite forcing 13 first-half turnovers, WSU found itself down by eight heading into the break following two California lay-ups in the final 1:09. California outscored WSU 15-6 to open the second stanza, building its lead to 17. Kelly sparked the beginning of a Cougar comeback, beating the shot clock with a reverse lay-up and going the length of the court for a fast break two WSU baskets later to cut the lead to 11 (44-33). A 3-pointer from Appleton off a steal from Jasmine Williams cut the lead to eight. After trading baskets, Appleton hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to seven (8:33). California scored the game's next five points however, putting the game out of reach.
Junior center Ebonee Coates recorded her second double-double of the season, but the Cougars fell 74-52 to No. 7 Stanford on Senior Day, March 2. Coates scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Appleton led the Cougars in scoring for the 12th time this season, scoring 17 points.
Stanford started the game on fire, hitting eight of its first 10 3-point attempts en route to an 18-point lead (32-14) at the 7 minute, 44 second mark. The Cardinal finished the opening stanza 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from beyond the arc. The Cougars stayed with Stanford for the remainder of the half, outscoring the Cardinal 9-8 over the final seven-plus minutes. Entering the second half with a 40-23 advantage, the Cardinal opened with a 13-3 run to extend its lead to 27. Stanford built its lead to as many as 31, but the Cougars outscored Stanford 18-9 over the final 7:50 to cut Stanford's winning margin to 22. WSU held the Cardinal to 3-of-10 shooting from the 3-point line in the second half.
SCOUTING OREGON The Ducks are led by sophomore guard Taylor Lilley, who averages 12.1 points per game. Lilley is connecting on 34 percent of her 3-point attempts (68-of-200). Senior guard Kaela Chapdelaine leads the team in assists with 4.0 per game, and is also the team's top rebounder at 5.6 boards per game.
Oregon has won three of its last four games, including a 60-49 victory over Oregon State this past week.
THE SERIES The Cougars lost each of the two previous meetings this season to the Ducks, and have lost four consecutive games against Oregon. WSU is 10-52 all-time against the Ducks, with its last victory coming Feb. 18, 2006 (68-53) at Friel Court. The Cougars' last victory over the Ducks away from Friel Court was Feb. 15, 2001 (77-76) in Eugene.
The Ducks and Cougars have met twice on a neutral court, with Oregon winning each contest. The two teams played Dec. 20, 1997 in Hilo, Hawaii at the Kona Classic (94-71) and March 10, 1978 in the NCWSA Tournament in Bellingham, Wash. (68-54).
In the first meeting this season, the Cougars fell 64-45 at McArthur Court, Jan. 17. The Cougars were outrebounded 46-32, with 17 of Oregon's rebounds coming on the offensive end. WSU opened the second half down by nine points (32-23), but a 14-5 run by the Ducks put the game out of reach. Sophomore guard Alexa Price led the Cougars in scoring with 11 points, while freshman forward Katie Calderwood led the Cougars with seven rebounds.
In the second meeting between the two teams, WSU received career performances from freshman guard Jasmine Williams and junior center Ebonee Coates, but a comeback bid fell short as the Cougars fell 60-57 at Friel Court, Feb. 17. Williams led the Cougars with a career-high 19 points on 8-of-9 (88.9 percent) shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. Coates pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, and nearly had her second consecutive double-double by adding nine points. With 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the game the Cougars found themselves down by 13 points. However, an 11-0 WSU run, keyed by two 3-pointers from junior guard Katie Appleton, got the game back to within one at 68-67. The Cougars fouled Tamika Nurse, who hit both free throws to put the Ducks back up three with 20 seconds left on the clock. Appleton was able to get another 3-point attempt off that would have sent the game into overtime, but the shot didn't fall and the Ducks escaped with the victory.
PAC-10 TOURNAMENT HISTORY The game between the Ducks and Cougars marks the first meeting between the two schools in the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
The Cougars are looking for their first Pac-10 Tournament win since the inception of the conference tournament during the 2001-02 season.