Oct. 30, 1999
PULLMAN-Wash. -- An enthusiastic crowd estimated at more than 2,500 helped the Washington State men's and women's basketball teams usher in the 1999-2000 basketball seasons at Basketball Bash '99 Saturday morning at Beasley Coliseum.
Highlights of the hour-long event included Jan-Michael Thomas' brilliant three-point archery, an impassioned speech from new women's coach Jenny Przekwas and newcomer Tyrone Evans winning the slam dunk contest. Following the introduction of both squads, the two teams squared off in a three-point shooting contest. Senior Alke Dietel (Halle, Germany) got the women off to a fast start, staking her team to a three-point lead by edging senior Blake Pengelly (Eugene, Ore.) 10-7. Freshman Nick Graham (Stillwater, Okla.) and senior Chris Crosby (Littleton, Colo.) then rallied the men to a 27-25 lead, passing seniors Cathy McNeely (Philomath, Ore.) and Jen Kerns (Coeur d'Alene).
Thomas, a senior from Inglewood, Calif., then nailed down the win for the men by scoring an impressive 17 points. At one point, he netted seven shots in a row. Junior Katie Nyseth (Cheshire, Ore.) finished with eight points for the women, which made the final tally 44-33.
Fans at the bash also got a glimpse of several new players, including instant fan-favorite Evans, who won the slam dunk contest in a playoff with teammate Mike Bush (Riverside, Calif). Evans, sporting a 70's-style afro that added four inches to his 6-6 frame, threw down three athletic dunks in regulation. But Bush, competing for the pride of the returning players, answered with a dunk that saw him bounce the ball high off the floor, jump over teammate Cedric Clark (Birmingham, Ala.), catch the ball and jam it through the rim. After fan applause produced a tie for the top spot, Evans finished with a jaw-dropping aerial "Jordan" from the left baseline. Bush's attempt bounced off the back rim, giving Evans, a junior transfer from Kansas's Garden City College, the 1999 championship.
One of the surprise highlights of the day came when Bud Nameck, WSU's play-by-play announcer, sank a shot from the midcourt circle to win a shooting contest.
The Bash also featured speeches from Przekwas and men's coach Paul Graham. Both urged fans to embrace the new faces of Cougar basketball. "I encourage everyone to come out and support these programs," Przekwas said. "The future of Cougar basketball is very exciting and I hope you will all be a part of it." Graham echoed Przkewas' determination to bring pride back to Friel Court. "We need your support. Our goal is to have every seat filled. We might not be as big and strong as everyone we play, but I promise you one thing, we will compete."
The women's team debuts Thursday, Nov. 11 in an exhibition game against Lokomotiva Bratislava, a touring team from Slovakia. The men open the following night with a non-counter versus California West All-Stars. Both games begin at 7 p.m. Season ticket packages are available for both teams by calling 1-800-GO COUGS.
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