THIS WEEK: Washington State takes a 15-3 record into the desert as it heads south for matches against Arizona and Arizona State. The Cougars, ranked No. 50 in the latest ITA poll, face No. 45 Arizona Friday in Tucson at 1:30 p.m. followed by a 10:30 a.m. Saturday match at No. 25 Arizona State in Tempe. Arizona brings a 12-1 record into the match after sweeping Purdue 7-0 Wednesday. The Wildcats are led by senior Lacey Smyth, who is ranked No. 91 nationally. Arizona State boasts a 14-2 record and No. 25 national ranking entering the weekend. The Sun Devils have won their last eight matches and have two players appear in the national rankings, led by No. 50 Stephanie Vlad.
LAST WEEK: The Cougars swept a pair of midweek, nonconference matches, defeating Eastern Washington 6-1 and Lewis-Clark State 7-0. Senior Emily Funabiki fought off six match points before winning 8-7 to lift the Cougars to the victory over Lewis-Clark State. It marked Funabiki’s first singles victory as a Cougar after joining the team this semester.
UP NEXT: The Cougars continue their four-match, conference road trip by traveling to No. 2 UCLA (Mar. 28) and No. 12 USC (Mar. 29).
SCHEDULE GETS TOUGHER FOR COUGARS: The Cougars are in the most difficult portion of their schedule as they resume Pac-12 play Friday against No. 45 Arizona. The match against the Wildcats starts a stretch where seven of eight matches come against teams ranked among the Top 40.
WSU REMAINS IN NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Cougars are ranked No. 50, the fifth-straight week in which they have been ranked after entering poll February 18 at No. 59.
COUGARS AT 20-WIN MARK: While junior Elizaveta Luzina leads the team with 25 singles victories this season, two others have now reach the 20-win plateau. Sophomores Maria Biryukova and Lize Leenknecht recorded their 22nd singles victories of the season last week while sophomore Dajana Ognjenovic also hit the benchmark and stands at 20 wins on the season.
COACH HART: Lisa Hart is in her 11th season as the head coach of Washington State. Hart has accumulated 138 wins over her Cougar tenure, and 182 in her career that includes three years as head coach at Virginia Tech. In 2012 the Cougars went 19-7 as Hart was awarded the Pac-12 Conference Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year award for the 2011-12 season.