Nov. 26, 2005
HONOLULU - On what was an ordinary 80-plus degree day in Hawaii, Washington State University junior forward Kate Benz was nothing but extraordinary.
Benz pulled down a career-best 21 rebounds -- just one shy of the school record -- in the Cougars' 74-51 win over Idaho State at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, Saturday.
WSU improves to 3-1 and will play in the Classic's fifth-place game against either Cal-State Northridge or Eastern Michigan, Sunday, Nov. 27 at 3:10 p.m. Pacific.
The WSU single-game school rebounding record is 22 - set by Jennifer Grey twice in 1975 and matched by Amy Saneholtz 20 years later.
Although Benz just missed the school's rebound mark she did establish a WSU defensive rebound single-game standard with 17 (shattering the previous mark of 13 set by three players, including Benz) and the Wahine Classic record for rebounds in a game (previously 19).
Benz is just the third player to record 20 or more rebounds in a game in WSU history. Along with Saneholtz's 1995 performance, Grey hit the 20-rebound barrier four times in 1975.
Benz, whose previous career-high was 19 rebounds against San Diego State in 2003, had secured her 10th rebound just over 11 minutes in to the first half. The Portland, Ore. native ended the first 20 minutes with 15 rebounds, which was as many as she tallied in Friday's game versus Hawaii.
Furthermore, with 12 points, Benz posted her 13th career double-double and her second of the season.
"I had no idea I had that many boards at halftime," Benz said. "I was just going out there and doing what I know I can do best."
"The rebounds don't surprise me anymore," WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said of Benz's performance. "But to actually get a double-double, and to do some great scoring, was good for her because she has struggled at that end of the floor."
Benz was one of five players who scored in double figures for WSU. Along with Benz, starters Charmaine Jones (13 points), Keisha Moore (12 points) and Katie Appleton (11 points) reached double digits. In addition, Dani Montgomery and Crystal Blue came off the bench to contribute 12 points and seven points, respectively. For the first time this season, all 13 players on the roster saw action for WSU.
Coming off a 68-63 loss to tournament host Hawaii Friday, in which WSU shot 6-of-33 in the second half, the Cougars shot 26-of-61 (42.6 percent) from the field against Idaho State, including 13-of-25 in the second half.
"It's hard to lose that game and know that we really deserved it if we just put two more shots in," Murrell said of yesterday's loss to Hawaii. "We shot ourselves in the foot yesterday but we were so bad shooting, we probably would have missed our foot. To have our kids come back the next day, and for them to take it out on another opponent, I am really proud of them.
The Cougars found themselves down 13-10 nearly eight minutes in the game. However, WSU went on a 9-0 run - with seven of those points courtesy of Montgomery - to take a 19-13 lead with 9:22 left in the first half. WSU maintained its six-point lead to the halftime break at 32-26.
WSU opened the second half scoring nine of the first 10 points to extend its advantage to 41-27. WSU maintained its double-digit lead the rest of the way.