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.
Rivalries…everybody has them. Whether it's a secret rivalry to outlast the person on the treadmill to your left at the gym, or a cross-state battle of Division I universities - these challenges are especially motivating and the rewards are truly personal for each individual.
For the Cougars and the Huskies, the Apple Cup comes to mind before you can even finish saying the word rivalry.
After a somewhat Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde showing against the Oregon schools -- losing to the Ducks and wrapping up our last home game with a victory over the Beavers -- we had the confidence to capture victory and show the Huskies that they should never underestimate the their intrastate rivals.
We spent the entire week leading up to the game working on our game plan and focusing on our defense, but not long after tip-off, adjustments had to be made and we dug ourselves into quite a hole early in the game.
At one point during the battle, I remember looking up at the scoreboard and cringing. For a few moments I had flashbacks of last year and I recalled the wide margin of defeat we were fed on their home court.
Then something characteristic of this year's team happened - our claws came out, and we began chipping away at their lead. I could tell a repeat performance was not in store.
The second 20 minutes of the game were incredibly exciting. With the lead within our grasp, it was exhilarating just knowing each pass…each shot…each steal…every possession was critical. To come back from a 20-point deficit and glance at the scoreboard to see that a win was only a couple baskets away was not only impressive, but also indicative of our team.
The atmosphere at the UW arena was incredible. It's the epitome of a raucous environment where the fans truly played a part in the game.
Although we couldn't seal the deal and came home four points shy of a victory, I found it encouraging knowing that our team had the gumption and fearlessness to keep the towel and not throw it in when the scoreboard seemed to offer a less-than-encouraging representation of effort.
With only two games left in our regular season, we are certainly hoping to capitalize on our never-give-up attitude and make these our strongest and most complete games to date. Consistency and fluid play will give us just the boost we need heading into the Pac-10 tournament, March 4.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS