During the 2004-05 season, sophomore Kate Benz will chronicle her experiences with the Cougar basketball team. Visit wsucougars.com for future thoughts from Kate throughout the season.
The few, the proud…the Cougar women's basketball team. With a roster about the size of a handful, seven of us eligible athletes took to the court for our first exhibition game, Nov. 6.
The game was played in Bohler Gym, a great venue where the fans seemed to really be part of the action. Initially, I had a few qualms about whether or not we could make it through a game with so few substitution options. All doubts were cast aside once the ball was thrown at center court and our adrenaline kicked in like we were part of a Gatorade commercial. With a victory, the first-game jitters gone, and another week of practice under our belts, we were ready to rival another team, this time in Beasley Coliseum.
With the injured list mounting and two of us fighting illness, could we do it again? Of course we could.
This new breed of Cougar basketball wouldn't settle for less. The smell of victory has been in the air for some time and I feel like our nasal passages have finally cleared. We're going to win more games! It's exciting to be in the locker room, out on the court and standing beneath cascading confetti after a win. It's something we're vowing to make a habit.
Coach Murrell has been asking us what we want to stand for as a team. Our reply to coach's question is continual effort. We are not going to quit. No matter what the scoreboard says, the 12 of us are going to keep playing until the last tenth of a second has expired.
To fill the inquiring mind in on the status of our team, we recently added freshman Brynn Bemis to the roster. True Cougs will find her name familiar because she is also a soccer player here at WSU. Sophomore guard Nikki Stratton is redshirting this year because of trouble with her foot. She has her second surgery this week and is currently recovering.
Junior guard Crystal Blue is gradually making her way back to the court after having surgery on her toe earlier this fall. Junior center Keisha Moore is sidelined until December due to the timeline of her transfer to WSU. Freshman guard Jordan McCormick is on a comeback after suffering a high ankle sprain during shootaround prior to our first exhibition game.
My mother is a broken record, always commenting on the way we "throw our bodies around." In all honesty, this business of basketball is rough, tough and it takes a hardnosed girl to fit the mold of a true player.
We get our durability and resilience not only from strength training, instruction from our coaches and delicious Balance bars and Boost drinks, but from the underappreciated yet extremely beneficial scout team.
Between five and seven rugged guys show up to practice, ready to challenge our team, all the while making us better everyday. In the beginning, there was one lone soldier: Bryce. Word got out about our desire for a few good men and in stepped Craig. Not long after, the faces of Elliot, Ryan, Neil and Andrew became our familiar competition in drills and scrimmages.
I've spoken with a few of my friends at other Division I basketball programs and it's a general consensus that having "scout guys", as they are known throughout the basketball community, is a definite advantage. They keep us loose and give us pointers. They aren't paid, they rarely have substitutions but they come because they love basketball. Now they're invested in our team and want to watch us succeed.
Success is on the horizon. Our official season-opener is Friday (Nov. 19) at 6 p.m. Following the Boise State game, we'll hit the road to face Nebraska. I hear they draw a sizeable crowd out in Husker Nation. It will be interesting to see how we fare against Nebraska as we lost to them in a close contest last year. I feel like a kid counting down the days until Christmas, only I'm crossing off the days on my calendar until I get to put on my jersey and play another day for WSU.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS