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Cougars Return Home For Nebraska, Utah Valley State
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 12/01/2003
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Dec. 1, 2003

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What's Happening:

Thursday, Dec. 4
vs. Nebraska
7 p.m. Pacific
Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum
Pullman, Wash.

Saturday, Dec. 6
vs. Utah Valley State College
7 p.m. Pacific
Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum
Pullman, Wash.

On The Horizon:
at No. 19 Utah
Saturday, Dec. 13
2 p.m. Pacific
Salt Lake City, Utah

What's Happening This Week: Coming off a road trip that saw them take two of three games, the Washington State Cougars return home for a two-game homestand this week....the Cougars (3-1) host Nebraska (3-1), Thursday, Dec. 4 and Utah Valley State College (4-2), Saturday, Dec. 6...both games are slated to tip-off at 7 p.m...the Utah Valley State game will be the second game of a WSU doubleheader that day...the Cougar men's basketball team hosts TCU at 5 p.m.

Receive Team Magnet At Nebraska Game: The first 2,000 fans to arrive at Thursday's Nebraska game will receive a WSU team schedule magnet...Saturday's Utah Valley State contest is billed as "Hawaiian Night"...those coming to the game are encouraged to dress in a Hawaiian theme for a chance to win prizes throughout the evening.

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.

About Nebraska: Like the Cougars, Nebraska will bring a 3-1 record to Friel Court, Thursday...Thursday's game marks the first meeting between the two schools...four Huskers average double-figures in points led by Margaret Richards (16.0 ppg)...Alexa Johnson (15.0 ppg), Kiera Hardy (10.5 ppg) and Kea Cannon-Johnson (10.3 ppg) complete the quartet.

About Utah Valley State: This will not be the first Pac-10 opponent UVSC has faced this season...the team dropped a 72-38 decision at Oregon State, Nov. 21...the school is in its first season of playing Division I competition...UVSC is coming off back-to-back wins over Mesa State College and Western State College...this will be the first meeting between the two schools.

McCall Out For This Week's Games: Bianca McCall is out for this week's games with a concussion...McCall sustained the concussion during the second half of the loss at Baylor.

WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell on This Week's Games: "Nebraska is going to be a really good match-up. It will be a hard-fought battle. We are going to have to make sure that we defend them well. They have some strong post players. The post players are going to have to step up with Bianca being out. Utah Valley State, even though they are new to Division I, are getting wins. We are not expecting anything to be easy."

Cougars Begin Season 3-1: WSU opened up the 2003-04 campaign with a 69-51 win over Fresno State, Nov. 21... Lindsey Egeland tallied 11 points to lead a contingent of 10 Washington State players that scored...the Cougars followed up the win with a 59-50 triumph at Wyoming, Nov. 24... Kate Benz scored 19 points and Bianca McCall added 16 to lead the Cougars...WSU made it three in a row with a 59-58 win over Eastern Washington, Nov. 26...McCall's put back off of a Charmaine Jones' miss with 3.9 seconds left gave the Cougars the dramatic win... in what was a frantic final 6:39 of the game that saw four ties and four lead changes the Cougars claimed the final lead change on McCall's bucket...WSU suffered its first loss of the season at Baylor, 76-39, Nov. 29...the 37-point margin of victory was actually the smallest of the young season for the Lady Bears, who won their first three games by an average of 43 points.

Road Warriors: The Wyoming game began a stretch of three road games over the course of six days...the road trek encompassed 4,628 air miles, 780 bus miles, six motels and four states.

Murrell on the Cougars' Start: "I'm pretty proud, obviously, of the wins and how we won. I thought we battled well and came out hard in the Fresno State game and stayed on top. Down in Wyoming we came from behind and won in good fashion. With Eastern, you could tell that the road was getting to us but we still made sure that we won that game. I was disappointed in our shooting percentage against Baylor. Baylor is a great team. We could have played our best and still come out on the short end. Overall, I was pleased with how we came out of this long, marathon road trip."

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.

* The Eastern win marked the third straight game the Cougars held their opponent to under 60 points. In 28 games last season, the Cougars held their opponents to under 60 points three times.

Pac-10 Leaders: Kate Benz is second in the conference in field goal percentage (.630, 17-27)...Bianca McCall is second in offensive rebounds (3.5/game)...Jessica Perry is tied for third in steals per game (3.0)...as a team, WSU is third in 3-point field goal defense (.278) and is tied for fourth in scoring defense allowing 58.8 point a game.

McCall Off to a Quick Start: 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.

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.

Coaching Staff: Sherri Murrell, who coached the University of the Pacific to four consecutive winning seasons, is in her second season as head coach of the Cougars...while at Pacific, Murrell coached the Tigers to a 68-46 record including a 40-20 mark in Big West Conference play...the Tigers' 19 wins in 2002 were the most wins by the program since 1995...Murrell has a mark of 122-105 in her eight-year coaching career...assistant Mark Lewis brings 18 years of coaching experience to the program... Lewis, who is in his second season at WSU, spent five years (1996-2001) as an assistant at Arizona State...assistants Lisa Fisher and Christopher Holland also return for their second season as Cougars...both served as assistants on Murrell's staff at the University of the Pacific during the 2001-02 season...prior to coming to Pacific, Fisher coached at Northeastern in Boston, Mass., where she was an assistant during the 2000-01 season...preceding her coaching at Northeastern, Fisher was at Portland State from 1996-2000, where she also worked with Murrell from 1996 to 1998... before his year at Pacific, Holland was at Arizona State, where he was a women's basketball team manager for five years...Sarah Allen joins the Cougar staff as director of basketball operations...Allen played two season for the Dayton Flyers after transferring from Arizona State...while at ASU, Allen was selected to the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team after the 2000 campaign.

A Look At The Cougs:

McCall Begins Senior Campaign: Senior Bianca McCall begins the 2003-04 season coming off a junior campaign in which she was named an All-Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball honorable mention selection... McCall led the Cougars in points (13.1/game) and rebounds (8.1/game) and scored in double-digits in 21 of 28 games in 2002-03...McCall's nine double-doubles was third in the Pac-10... at one point - from Jan. 11 to Jan. 25, - McCall ran together a string of five consecutive double-doubles...additionally, her six 20-point games finished tied for eighth in the conference...she concluded the season ranked in the top 10 in the conference in five categories...she was second in offensive rebounds (3.71/game) and blocks (1.46/game), fourth in total rebounds (8.0 rpg), sixth in defensive rebounds (4.39/game) and 10th in scoring (13.1 ppg)...in her first game as a Cougar, McCall made an impression in the school record books against Wyoming, Nov. 22...McCall grabbed 19 rebounds against the Cowgirls to tie her for the sixth-best single-game rebounding performance in WSU history.

Senior Quartet: Along with McCall, the Cougars bring back three other seniors to the team: Lindsey Egeland, Candace Fields and Kim Dugan... Egeland walked-on the team as a freshman in 2000 and has worked her way into a starting position. She started 27 of 28 games last year and was fourth on the team in scoring averaging 6.8 points a contest...despite missing eight games during the middle of the season with a left foot stress fracture, Fields was second on the team in rebounding (6.0/game) and third in scoring (7.7 points/game) last year...Dugan missed the season's final 19 games with a left wrist fracture. Prior to her injury, Dugan averaged 6.8 points in nine games.

Other Returnees: The Cougars junior contingent is made up of forward Jami Clevenger, Emma Joneby and Jessica Perry...running the point, Perry started 25 of 26 games, missing the season's first two games with mononucleosis. Perry recorded three games of 20 points or more including a career-high 25 points at Stanford, Jan. 16. She finished the season ninth in the conference in assists (3.27) and steals (1.92/game)...both Clevenger and Joneby saw extensive action throughout the season as Clevenger started 17 of the 27 games played while Joneby saw action in all 28 games starting 10...rounding out the returning group is sophomore Charmaine Jones. Jones, a 5-foot-6 guard, played a vast amount as a freshman seeing action in 20 games including the final 19 of the season.

Newcomer Class: The Cougars' newcomer class includes five newcomers, including two from the state of Washington...the class is made up of a sophomore (Kolleen Horton), and four freshmen (Kate Benz, Adriane Ferguson, Stephanie Singer and Nikki Stratton)...Ferguson, a 6-foot guard out of Spokane, Wash., who was a first team All-State selection while averaging 15.8 points a game her senior season, and Kate Benz, a 6-foot-2 forward from Portland, Ore, who was a first team All-State honoree as well with averages of 15.9 points and 12.7 rebounds a contest...the class continues with Nikki Stratton of Colorado Springs, Colo., a 5-foot-10 guard who garnered first team All-State recognition posting a 16 points per game average while leading the state of Colorado with an assist average of 6.1 per outing, and Stephanie Singer, a 5-foot-7 point guard out of Eugene, Ore., who received first team All-State honors while putting up 15 points per game and dishing out seven assists...Horton, a 6-foot-4 center out of Blanchet High School in Seattle, was originally recruited by Murrell at Pacific and comes to the Cougars after a year at Umpqua Community College where she averaged 11.7 points and eight rebounds in 2002-03.

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 Athletics
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