March 2, 2004
THIS WEEK: Thursday, March 4, 2004 - WSU vs. Stanford-7:30 p.m.-(FSN Bay Area/Northwest)
Saturday, March 6, 2004 - WSU vs. California-2 p.m.
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is in his first season at WSU...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .632 career winning percentage (466-271)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...he is 12-14 this season...with 83-70 win at Arizona State, Feb. 26, Bennett tied Johnny Orr for 75th place on the NCAA career wins list.
BENNETT RECORDS QUICK START: WSU won six of its first eight games, marking its best start since 1996-97 when the Cougars opened 7-1...with two wins to open the 2003-04 season, WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett became the first mentor to begin his Cougar career 2-0 since Len Stevens in 1983-84.
COUGARS SHOW MARKED IMPROVEMENT: WSU has 12 wins this season, a five-win improvement from last season, under first-year mentor Dick Bennett...only other time a Cougar head coach has had a better improvement during his inaugural season was John R. Bender in 1907-08...Bender's squad finished 12-3 after Everett M. Sweeley's 1906-07 team posted a 5-4 record...WSU has tallied six Pac-10 wins after winning just six of its last 44 conference games entering this season.
STANFORD PREVIEW: The Cardinal are 25-0, 16-0 in the Pac-10...Stanford is ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls...Cardinal needs wins at WSU and Washington this week to record the first 18-0 conference mark in Pac-10 history...Josh Childress leads Stanford with 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game...four Cardinal starters average double figure scoring...Justin Davis has been sidelined since Jan. 29 with a partial tear of his medial collateral ligament in his left knee...Davis will not play Thursday.
SERIES WITH THE CARDINAL: Stanford leads 57-52...Cardinal have won 15 straight...WSU has lost eight straight at home in the series...last Cougar win was 68-59 at No. 24 Stanford, Feb. 22, 1996...last WSU home win was 77-63 over No. 23 Cardinal, Jan. 7, 1995...Stanford won the season's first meeting 73-51 at home, Jan. 2...Justin Davis led the Cardinal with 13 points while Marcus Moore posted a game-high 15 for the Cougars...Washington State is 2-16 against ranked Stanford teams and has lost 14 straight.
CALIFORNIA PREVIEW: The Golden Bears are 13-12, 9-7 in the Pac-10 (plays at Washington, Thursday)...California resides in fourth place and can climb as high as second in the final Pac-10 regular season standings...Golden Bears have clinched a spot in the Pac-10 Tournament...Leon Powe leads the team with 15.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
SERIES WITH THE GOLDEN BEARS: California leads 62-42...Golden Bears have won seven of the last nine meetings...Washington State broke a six-game losing streak overall and eight-game skid in Berkeley against California with a 55-50 win, Jan. 4...Amit Tamir scored a game-high 16 points for the Golden Bears...Jeff Varem tallied a team-high 15 points and led four WSU players with double figure points.
STREAKS ON THE LINE: When Washington State faces Stanford Thursday, the Cougars will be looking to break several streaks...Stanford has defeated WSU 15 straight times...Cougars have lost 14 straight to a ranked Cardinal team...WSU has lost 43 straight to ranked opponents...last win over a ranked team was 89-87 at home against No. 25 California, Feb. 22, 1997...Cougars are 0-23 all-time against No. 1, including 0-13 in Pullman...WSU has lost 26 consecutive games to top five teams.
COUGARS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Washington State was named men's basketball national team of the week (Feb. 2-8) by ESPN.com after winning games at UCLA and USC, Feb. 5/7.
PACIFIC-10 TOURNAMENT SCENARIOS: With one week left in the regular season, Washington State is one of five teams battling for the final four spots in the 2004 Pacific Life Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament...there are 500 scenarios that could take place this week and in 376 of them, Washington State qualifies for the Pac-10 Tournament, March 11-13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles...Cougars can finish anywhere from sixth to ninth in the final Pac-10 regular season standings...ninth place finish would result in WSU missing the tournament...provided the Cougars do qualify, potential first round opponents include Arizona, California, Stanford and Washington...all four of those teams have clinched spots in the Pac-10 Tournament...Washington State controls its destiny and can qualify for the tournament with wins over Stanford and California...Cougars also head to Los Angeles if Oregon State loses at home to UCLA and USC...Washington State can clinch a spot Thursday with a win over Stanford and an Oregon State loss to UCLA or a USC loss to Oregon.
PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT MEDIA INFORMATION: Media members requesting credentials for the tournament may obtain a credential application through the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org or at www.sportssytems.com/Pac-10...application deadline is March 2.
PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT TICKET INFORMATION: Fans wishing to attend the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament, March 11-13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles may order tickets through WSU at 1-800-GO-COUGS (1-800-462-6847) or the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org.
CLOSE LOSSES FOR THE COUGARS: WSU finds itself battling for a spot in the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament with one week left in the season...if the Cougars do not qualify, they may be left to wonder what might have been...WSU has lost four games this season by five points or less...the close losses include 48-45 to UCLA in Spokane, Jan. 8, 61-57 to No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31, 67-62 in overtime to Oregon, Feb. 14 and 71-67 at Washington, Feb. 19.
SUCCESS AT THE LINE: WSU is 7-2 this season when attempting more free throws than its opponent...Cougars are shooting 84 percent (103-for-123) during their six Pac-10 wins...WSU is 22nd nationally in free throw percentage (.740).
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: WSU turns the ball over at a rate of 12.4 per game...Cougars are 16th nationally in fewest turnovers per outing.
WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars have six road wins in a season (6-8) for the first time since 1995-96 (7-7)...with the 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22, WSU broke a 27-game road losing streak...previous win was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001...WSU was 6-65 in last 71 road games prior to this season dating back to January, 1998.
PAC-10 ROAD SWEEPS: A 60-51 victory at USC, Feb. 7 gave the Cougars their first road sweep of the Los Angeles schools in WSU history...Cougars closed the first half with a 26-9 run over the final 14:53...first season sweep of USC since 1985-86...first road sweep in conference since defeating Oregon State and No. 19 Oregon, Feb. 16/18, 1995 and 11th in school history since Pac-10 began in 1978-79.
DEFENSIVE STAT OF THE WEEK: Washington State has given up 53.9 points per game in seven outings against California schools.
SCORING LIMIT IS FIFTY-FIVE: The Cougars have held 13 of 26 opponents this season to 55 points or less...WSU held 12 opponents to 55 points or less over the last six seasons combined prior to 2003-04...last time Cougars limited 13 or more opponents to 55 points or less was 1951-52 when WSU accomplished the feat in 17 or 35 games...WSU held six straight opponents to 55 points or less (Nov. 28-Dec. 22) for the first time since Dec. 21-Jan. 5 (seven games) during the 1950-51 season.
FIFTY POINT BARRIER: The Cougars have held five opponents to under 50 points this season...prior to this season, the last time WSU held a team under 50 points was an 80-46 win at Eastern Washington, Dec. 7, 1996...Cougars had not held multiple opponents under 50 points since 1989-90 season...last time WSU held five opponents under 50 points was 1987-88 season in Kelvin Sampson's first season on the Palouse...WSU also limited Montana and California to 50 points each while posting road wins.
COUGAR DEFENSE: Last season, WSU yielded 78.8 points per game and was last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense...this season the Cougars are best in the conference, allowing just 59.3 points per outing...WSU is 11th nationally in scoring defense.
ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: The Cougars are averaging 3,909 fans at Friel Court this season, the most since the 1998-99 campaign...WSU drew 10,878 fans for its two games against Arizona State and Arizona, Jan. 29/31...largest weekend for WSU basketball since 13,682 came to see USC and UCLA at the end of the 1996-97 season...Cougars drew 17,287 over three games (Jan 24-31), best since Feb. 22-March 8, 1997 (21,017)...the 6,409 attending the Washington game, Jan. 24 was the most since 6,493 watched No. 1 Stanford, Jan. 27, 2001 and the most for a non-ranked opponent since 8,373 attended Washington, Jan. 18, 1997.
COUGAR PLAYER NOTES
MOORE ASSISTS: Senior Marcus Moore needs four assists to record the 23rd 100-assist season in WSU history...the Inglewood, Calif., native has accomplished the feat twice in his career posting 100 assists in 2000-01 and 131 assists in 2001-02.
WSU LIMITS OPPONENT SCORING IN PAC-10 GAMES: The Cougars have held every Pac-10 opponent below its current scoring average.
FROM ZERO TO SEVENTY: Washington State is 3-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points...Cougars registered a season-high 83 points at Arizona State, Feb. 26...most points by WSU in a Pac-10 road game since 98-87 loss at No. 8 Arizona, Jan. 7, 1999.
FORTY-FIVE-FORTY: WSU is 8-1 this season when shooting 45 percent or better from the field...Cougars shot season-high 58 percent in 76-61 win over USC, Jan. 10...Cougars 7-0 when holding opponent under 40 percent from the floor...when the Cougars shoot under 40 percent, they are 1-8.
GETTING A FRESH START: WSU has used 11 different starting lineups this season, with 11 players making at least one start...Cougars have had a different lineup in seven of their last eight games.
WSU WIN STREAK: The Cougars had a four-game winning streak snapped with their 46-29 loss at Fresno State, Dec. 22...it was WSU's first four-game winning streak since Dec. 2-20, 1998.
WSU A TRAVELING TEAM: The Cougars have played 18 of their 26 games away from Pullman...WSU has traveled over 15,000 miles by plane and over 2,400 miles by bus.
PROTECTING THE HOUSE: WSU's 62-55 win over Idaho, Dec. 20, the Cougars closed our their 2003-04 non-conference home schedule at 3-0...WSU is 63-2 since 1990-91 in non-conference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign...losses are 78-66 to Utah, Dec. 11, 1999 and 110-104 to Gonzaga in overtime, Dec. 7, 2002.
SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT: The Cougars are 8-1 this season when leading at halftime and 1-0 when tied at intermission...last season, WSU was 6-6 after outscoring its opponent in the first stanza.