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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Travel To Salt Lake City For No. 21 Utah
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 12/09/2003
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Dec. 9, 2003

What's Happening:

Saturday, Dec. 13
at No. 21 Utah
2 p.m. Pacific
Salt Lake City, Utah

On The Horizon:

Saturday, Dec. 20
at Idaho
Saturday, Dec. 20
7 p.m. Pacific
Moscow, Idaho

Monday, Dec. 22
vs. San Diego State
7 p.m. Pacific
Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum
Pullman, Wash.

What's Happening This Week: After splitting a two-game homestand last week, the Washington State women's basketball team returns to the road to face its first ranked opponent of the season...WSU (4-2) is at No. 21 (AP) Utah (5-2) Saturday, Dec. 13 for a 2 p.m. PST tip-off...the last time the Cougars defeated a ranked opponent was Feb. 10, 2001 when WSU bested No. 22 Arizona 93-86 at Pullman...the last time WSU beat a ranked opponent on the road was Jan. 8, 1998...once again Arizona was the victim as the 10th ranked Wildcats fell to WSU 64-61 at Tucson, Ariz.

About Utah: Kim Smith leads Utah with a 17.4 points a game average...Smith is shooting 47-of-83 (.566) from the field...Shona Thorburn is also scoring in double-digits with a 12.9 points per game average...Thorburn leads the team in rebounds (6.7/game) with Smith not far behind (6.3/game)...Utah leads the series with WSU 8-1 including a 85-50 win at Pullman last year...the Cougars' lone win in the series came in the team's first meeting, Dec. 8, 1978...WSU defeated Utah 65-57 at a neutral site in Boise, Idaho.

WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell on Utah: "Utah is a team that holds opponents to low points. The nice thing about it is our defense is holding teams to 58 points per game. If we stay with them defensively it will allow us to stay in the game. Utah has a long, winning tradition at home. I hope our kids come in there very focused. This is our first ranked opponent this season so I'm hoping that will get our kids fired up."

McCall Back In Action: Senior Bianca McCall returns to the court after sitting out last week's games recovering from a concussion sustained in the second half of the Nov. 29 loss at Baylor...in the season's first four games, McCall averaged 11.0 points and 6.3 rebounds a contest...McCall scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the 59-50 win at Wyoming, Nov. 24...she followed that up with 13 points (all in the second half) in the 59-58 win at Eastern Washington, Nov. 26...the last two points of the 13 were the most dramatic as McCall's put back off of a Charmaine Jones miss with 3.9 seconds left propelled the Cougars to victory.

Perry's Performance: In two games last week, Jessica Perry averaged 13 points and six rebounds...against Nebraska, Dec. 4, Perry scored 14 points hitting three treys in the process...the junior from Phoenix, Ariz., also added three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals against the Cornhuskers...in the win over Utah Valley State two days later Perry just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds...Perry is fifth in the conference in steals per game (2.33).

Equaling the Past Two Season: With a 4-2 record, the Cougars have matched their combined win total over the past two seasons. (2001-02: 2-27; 2002-03: 2-26)...the last time the Cougars were two games above .500 was Jan. 6, 2001 when WSU was 7-5.

Defensive Display: The Cougars have held their opponents to under 60 points four times in six games...in 28 games last season, the Cougars held their opponents to under 60 points three times...the 49 points allowed by the Cougars against Utah Valley State were the fewest allowed by the team since a 55-49 win over Portland State, Nov. 26, 2001...WSU is holding its opposition to 58.0 points a game...through six games last year the Cougars allowed an average of 79.3 points a game...WSU has held two opponents (Fresno State, .291; Utah Valley State, .288) to under 30 percent field goal percentage...the last time WSU held two opponents under 30 percent field goal percentage in the same season was in 2000-01...WSU held American (.263) and Vermont (.269) to under 30 percent that season...the Cougars' defensive presence is reflected in the conference statistics as WSU is fourth in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense (.386) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.303).

For Three!: WSU was 14-of-31 (45.2 percent) from 3-point territory in last week's homestand...the eight treys by the Cougars against Nebraska were the most by the team since WSU made eight in an 86-65 loss to Arizona last season in Pullman...Lindsey Egeland leads the team from behind the arc shooting at a 50 percent clip (7-of-14)...Egeland was a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range in the win over Utah Valley State, Dec. 6...the last time a Cougar was perfect from behind the arc with a minimum of four attempts was Tricia Lamb (4-of-4) Feb. 13, 1999 against Oregon State at Pullman...Egeland is tied for third in the Pac-10 in 3-point field goal percentage.

Last Week Recap: WSU fell to Nebraska 64-56, Dec. 4 but rebounded with a 56-49 win over Utah Valley State two days later...Jessica Perry led WSU with 14 points against the Huskers...WSU took a 30-28 lead into the halftime break and immediately extended the advantage to seven at 39-32 at the 16:54 mark of the second half...the Huskers went on a 19-5 run over the ensuing 9:34 to take a 51-44 lead with 7:20 remaining. ..the Cougars responded with an 8-0 run - book ended by a pair of Charmaine Jones' 3-pointers - to retake the lead at 52-51 at the 4:39 mark...Nebraska would have the final say, however, as a 7-0 run gave the Huskers a lead it would not relinquish at 58-52 with 1:59 left...Lindsey Egeland led a trio of Cougars who scored in double-digits with 14 points in the win over Utah Valley State...Egeland primarily tallied her point total from behind the arc, going a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point territory...Perry added 12 points along with nine rebounds and Adriane Ferguson recorded 10 points off the bench for WSU...Kolleen Horton came off the bench to record six points and five rebounds, all in the second half...UVSC out-rebounded WSU for the game 42-41 but the Cougars held the advantage on the boards in the second half 24-15...WSU struggled early, missing nine of it first 10 shots, and found itself down 28-25 at the half...after spotting UVSC the first bucket of the second half, the Cougars tied the game at 30 with 17:02 remaining on an Egeland trey and a bucket by Candace Fields...down 32-30 at the 16:28 mark, WSU went on a 6-0 run - with all the points accounted for by Perry - as the Cougars took the lead for good.

Murrell on Last Week: "Overall, without Bianca being with us, I thought we did a pretty good job. I was disappointed with the loss to Nebraska because I felt we could have won that game. It was a hard-fought battle, which I knew would happen. We just had some defensive breakdowns right at the end that allowed them to score some points. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job and competed well. It's just when you're playing good teams, a couple of breakdowns will break your back. The best way to get over a loss is to win the next one. We played a really good team in Utah Valley State. I expected them to give us a run. They played solidly. Our guards stepped up. In the past we relied on our posts for scoring. I was real proud of Lindsey Egeland, Jessica Perry, Adriane Ferguson as well as Charmaine Jones. All of them stepped up."

Road Warriors: The Nov. 24 Wyoming game began a stretch of three road games over the course of six days...along with the trip to Laramie, Wyo., WSU traveled to Cheney, Wash. for a game at Eastern Washington before going south to Waco, Texas for a game at Baylor...the road trek encompassed 4,628 air miles, 780 bus miles, six motels and four states.

First Time Since...

*The win against Fresno State marked the first season-opening triumph for WSU since three years ago to the day. The Cougars captured a 59-52 win at American University, Nov. 21, 2000 to open the 2000-01 campaign.

* The win at Wyoming improved the Cougars' record to 2-0 marking the first time since the 1998-99 campaign that WSU began a season with consecutive victories. The Cougars opened up that season with five straight wins.

* The Wyoming victory also marked the first road win for WSU since a 77-76 win at Oregon, Feb. 15, 2001, a span of 28 games.

* The win at Eastern Washington, which followed up the road triumph at Wyoming, marked the second road win for WSU in the span of three days. The last time WSU won two consecutive road games was in 1997 when the Cougars followed up a win at, coincidentally, Wyoming, Nov. 23 with a victory at Gonzaga, Nov. 28.

Pac-10 RPI: Through games as of Dec. 7, 2003, the WBCA/Summerville RPI ranks the top five conferences (RPI) as follows: 1. Pac-10, 2. Big 12, 3. Big Ten, 4. SEC and 5. Big East.

Exhibition Wrap: The Cougars split their two-game exhibition slate...WSU fell to Northwest Sports 76-66, Nov. 8 despite 18 points from Candace Fields and 16 points from Jessica Perry... WNBA player Erin Thorn, who saw action in 23 games for the New York Liberty last season, scored a game-high 31 points on 10-of-25 shooting...the Cougars rebounded with a 73-68 victory over Strakonice/Czech Republic, Nov. 11...Adriane Ferguson led a contingent of 10 Cougars that made a dent on the scoreboard with 13 points...Fields pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

Murrell Member of National Committee: In addition to her WSU head coaching duties, Sherri Murrell is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/Kodak All-American Team Selection Committee...Murrell serves as the representative for District 8, which encompasses the western part of the nation...the Kodak/WBCA All-America Teams honor the 10 best collegiate women's basketball players in the nation...Murrell, along with the representatives from the other seven districts, select the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team from a list of finalists determined by WBCA member coaches....for more information on the All-American Team go to wbca.org.

Cougars Ink Shired: Sabrina Shired, a 6-foot-4 center from Casa Grande High School (Petaluma, Calif.), signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Washington State women's basketball team next fall, head coach Sherri Murrell announced Nov. 12...as a junior at Casa Grande, Shired averaged seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks in leading her team to the playoffs...that followed up a sophomore season in which she averaged 12 points and nine rebounds a contest...Shired earned Sonoma County League Freshman of the Year honors and was selected as the California Intercollegiate Federation Woman of the Year in 2001. She participated in the adidas All-Star Camp and the Triple Threat Basketball Club last summer.

Westside Clinic A Success: The fall coaching clinic that Murrell conducted with her coaching staff and team proved to be a success as it drew approximately 150 coaches and student-athletes to Redmond High School, Nov. 1...the clinic featured on court demonstrations in a live practice setting with the team...coaches were able to ask questions as the drills were being conducted...this was the second consecutive year that Murrell has conducted a fall clinic...last year's clinic was in downtown Seattle with special guest speaker Lin Dunn, the former head coach and general manager of the WNBA's Seattle Storm.

Tickets: Tickets for all Cougar home games are available through the WSU Ticket Office, North 225 Grand, Pullman, Wash. 99164-1910, or by calling 800-GO-COUGS.

Internet: WSU women's basketball releases, statistics, and notes are loaded weekly on the WSU Athletics Home Page. The address is: http://www.wsucougars.com.

Washington State Cougars Women's Basketball
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