Is Washington State’s women’s basketball team better than early indications or is Gonzaga not quite ready for prime time? That’s the question after the Cougars took the Zags to the wire in Hawaii before Gonzaga pulled it out by two.
There are multiple ways to answer that question, but here’s one way to look at it, the Zags are not ranked in the Left Coast Hoops Best of the West Top 10. Yes, it’s Pac-10 heavy, but in the recent past the Bulldogs were No. 2. Though they played Stanford tough, they came up short in the clutch department in losses at USC and to Mississippi in Hawaii. Plenty of comment, notes and a top 25 vote below.
The Bulldogs are fast running out of opportunities to make a statement. In fact, the matchup with Notre Dame in Seattle on Dec. 29 is a must-win, at least in the respect department.
The next four games, could be considered tests, but going to Eastern Washington on Friday and Montana on Sunday isn’t what it appeared to be at first. After being picked second and first, resepctively, in the Big Sky, both the Eagles and Griz have struggled mightily. The next four games before Christmas are at home. The rematch with WSU should be entertaining but unless the Cougars muster some more wins, it’s not going to be a big deal. Idaho is off to a 5-1 start, which will help the Zags, but then come BYU, a .500 team in the Mountain West, and Fullerton, sub-.500 in the Big West.
None of this means a hill of beans for making the NCAA Tournament - as long as the Zags win the WCC. Should the Bulldogs falter, there is going to be a lot of resistence to putting them in, even though the first two rounds are at McCarthey. It should be noted, the Cougars have lost at Saint Mary’s and Portland. Maybe the Cougars are doing to develop into a team with some substance. Will be interesting to see on Dec. 11.
Speaking of troubles, though, one loss has folks in a tizzy about Tennessee, following a loss to Georgetown that left Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) with a fat lip, among other injuries, physical and mental, for the Lady Vols. If you make it through the stories, try the comments if you want to know what passion, misguided or not, is. (And to think, only my bike-riding companion Bob is a regular commenter - maybe I should thank my lucky stars!!)
Idaho had two players make the all-tournament team in Oregon. Kelli Valentine (Mead) of Portland State, was recognized at the California tourney. Eastern’s Julie Piper made the all-tourney team in Colorado. Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot gets the same recognition in Hawaii.
My top 25 vote from Sunday