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Sat., Feb. 23, 2013, 11:01 a.m.

Task gets taller for WSU


FROM TUCSON -- WSU is trying to break a 7-game losing streak. But this isn't exactly the easiest place to do it. Read on.


Ken Bone has talked a lot this season about handling adversity. It's something he tries to instill in his players every day in practice. Coaches are going to get on you. Teammates are going to miss shots. You're going to turn the ball over. But what's important is how one responds to each moment of frustration, big or small. And, well, a game at McKale Center when in the midst og a 7-game losing streak seems like the pinnacle of adversity. Especially this season. Bone said he sees a Cougars team that is embracing the challenge and is eager to put forth a good performance this afternoon. The numbers aren't on WSU's side here, though. Arizona has lost just twice in this building this season -- to UCLA and California -- and WSU hasn't won here since Bone's first season as coach. The Cougars swept the season series that year. They haven't beaten Arizona since. ... We wrote in our advance today about Bone's desire for WSU to adhere to its basic defensive principles -- things like closing on shooters, rotating to gaps, contesting shots and fighting through screens. They didn't do any of those particularly well in Wednesday's loss to Arizona State. But it's the only way the Cougars are going to be able to hang close today -- by playing harder than the Wildcats and doing little things right. And by sharing the ball and shooting a high percentage from 3-point range. ... If I'd told you before the season that WSU would have four players averaging double-figure scoring by the end of the season, would you have believed it? Brock Motum (17.8), Mike Ladd (11.4), DaVonte Lacy (10.6) and Royce Woolridge (10.0) are all in that category now, though it should be noted that Lacy and Woolridge are both seeing more scoring opportunities recently with Ladd out. Still, he's only missed three games. It'll be four today. He's out again with a left knee injury.

All for now. We'll check in later from the airport. Have a 9 p.m. flight back to Spokane, so it might be a little while before we're back with our usual postgame fare.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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