A GRIP ON SPORTS
Last night the Washington State women won their first game in the Pac-12 basketball tournament. It wasn't as important as what went on at a nearby hospital. Read on.
• After a shoot-around at Key Arena, WSU coach June Daugherty began to hurt. More than likely her lower abdomen began to hurt. The pain was probably pretty darn sharp. Before you can look up how to spell appendicitis, she was on her way to a local hospital for surgery. And she had it pretty quickly, with the operation over before the Cougars had defeated Arizona State 48-41. Daugherty hopes to be well enough to coach her team tonight when they face top-seeded Stanford – a school WSU has never defeated in women's hoop – but that will be up to the doctors. Her husband Mike coached the Cougars last night, the first day of the tournament in Seattle. The Pac-12 had always held the men's tournament in Staples Center and recently began holding the women's in nearby Galen Center on the USC campus for the early rounds and Staples for the later ones. But neither has drawn well in Los Angeles, so the men have moved to Las Vegas (the WCC, Mountain West and WAC also hold their tourneys there), where they will play next week, and the women up the coast to Seattle. It only took one day for the women to see a significant upswing in attendance, but after having covered games at the Galen Center in the past, it's easy to understand why. I remember one USC/Washington State game that drew fewer people than the last golf outing I had organized. And the basketball crowd was even quieter.
• I know what Daugherty went through yesterday. It happened to me about 20 years ago. I don't remember Kim driving me to the hospital but I do remember the doctor pushing my abdomen down in the emergency room. I remember because the pain was so intense, I made like Spider-man and they had to pry me off the ceiling. At least that's how I remember it.
• Gonzaga: The Zags are still waiting for their opponents – the men and women earned byes to the semis – but the tournaments are in full swing now. Jim Meehan is in Vegas and has this advance on the women, who will play the winner of today's Loyola Marymount and BYU quarterfinal on Saturday. ... The Portland women won yesterday while USF and Santa Clara lost. ... On the men's side, USF's men fell to Loyola, which has already won twice. USD also got past Pepperdine and BYU is looking forward to getting started today. ... Time Magazine has five lessons college basketball programs should learn from Gonzaga.
• Washington State: Before we get to basketball, Christian Caple has a story on WSU's pro day, centered on quarterback Jeff Tuel's quest to find a spot in the NFL. ... Christian also has his morning post that is full of links. ... Jon Wilner of San Jose has this blog post concerning the salaries of the Pac-12's athletic directors. I checked Bill Moos contract this morning and he earns $455,000 a year when you add in his yearly retention bonus of $50,000. ... Chris Derrick is in Seattle at the women's tournament and has this story on the Cougars' win without their head coach. ... Washington's women rallied from a large first-half deficit to defeat Oregon, Utah, which had lost twice to UA this season, routed the Wildcats when it really counted and USC got past Oregon State. The co-champion California women are waiting for their chance.
• EWU: The Eagles kept their slim Big Sky tournament hopes alive by defeating Idaho State in Jim Hayford's 400th game. ... To get there, Eastern will have to upset Weber State in Ogden, something Portland State couldn't do. ... The Eastern women will be seeded third in the Big Sky tourney.
• Idaho: Denver and Louisiana Tech will meet Saturday in Denver with the WAC title on the line. If the Pioneers win as they did Thursday, they'll share the title with Tech, currently undefeated in WAC play. ... Utah State won as well last night.
• Whitworth: The Pirates will continue their slow march through the NCAA Division III playoffs by hosting Emory tomorrow night. For that to happen, super sub Colton McCargar (pictured) may have to have another good scoring night. Jim Allen has the story.
• Mariners: Felix Hernandez took the bump for the first time this spring and helped the M's hand Kansas City its first loss. Of course, this being spring, the M's also lost yesterday. It was a split-squad day. ... Danny Hultzen is feeling better.
• Something will happen today that hasn't happened in awhile. We'll be on the radio at 700 ESPN talking Cougars, Zags, Eagles and a bunch of other stuff. You can listen here from 3 to 6 p.m. if you like. And there is a 700 ESPN app available at the iTunes store. Until then ...