January 8, 1997 in Sports

Cougars Can’t Duck Tough Trip To Play Oregon

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Harold Rhodes says he’s been voting the University of Oregon women’s basketball team in the top 15 all season.

The Ducks have not cracked the Associated Press Top 25, but Rhodes and his Washington State Cougars are preparing as though Oregon is among the best. And for good reason.

The Cougs need a win in the Pacific-10 Conference after losing to UCLA and USC at home in the first weekend of conference play. In both games, WSU led in the second half.

Up next, WSU (5-5, 0-2) plays at Oregon (8-2, 1-0) on Thursday and Oregon State (6-4, 0-1) on Saturday. Although a sweep would be sweet, a win on Saturday appears the better bet. Oregon has won 20 of its last 23 games at home, including last Saturday’s 77-59 win against Oregon State.

“With Jenni Ruff gone (graduated), they’re trying to figure out where their offense is going to come from,” OSU coach Judy Spoelstra said.

WSU’s Kristin Erickson was providing a huge part of the offense. The 6-foot-2 senior forward is second in team scoring (12.7) and accounted for 24 points against UCLA. Against USC, Erickson suffered a left knee sprain and will be sidelined for several games.

But that’s not a reason for Oregon State to relax, said Spoelstra, whose team finished second in the Pac10 last season but lost 80 percent of its scoring.

“I remember last year, we were at the Hawaii tournament and so was Washington State.” said Spoelstra. “They lost Amy Saneholtz (prior to) a game against Hawaii. I thought they’d be down in the dumps. I was impressed with the Cougars’ fortitude.”

Saneholtz, back in the lineup after her year-ending injury, is averaging 10.2 points per game, third behind center Yvonne Kunze (12.9).

Oregon’s leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (9.5) is 6-0 senior forward Arianna Boyer. The Ducks lead the conference in defense (54.3 points per game).

Oregon State’s top player is 6-5 senior center Kristina Lelas, averaging 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds.

OSU’s Sissel Pierce, a redshirt freshman who led Wishkah Valley to the State B title two years ago, just returned from a lower leg injury. Pierce, a 6-5 power forward, played well against Oregon, finishing with 2 of 3 shooting, two blocked shots and two steals.

Drilled, but not dunked on

For the record, Lewis-Clark State’s Rosie Albert did not open Monday night’s game against Whitworth with a dunk.

“If she did, I must have had my backed turned on that one,” joked Pirates coach Helen Higgs.

Higgs said Albert’s basket was actually a tip-in. Still, the Pirates did lose by 33 points.

Around the conferences

Despite dropping six of its last eight games, Idaho (5-7) has the best record in the Big West Eastern Division. Conference action begins this week with UI at second-place Nevada (4-7). Idaho freshman Alli Nieman continues to put up sensational numbers. The Sandpoint High grad is third in the conference in scoring (17.9) and third in rebounds (8.8)… . WSU’s Jade Hyett continues to lead the Pac-10 in assists and steals… . Eastern senior Rachel Ferguson broke two school records in the Eagles’ (3-9, 0-2) loss to Cal State Northridge. The 6-2 forward made 13 free throws in 17 attempts, breaking the record for makes and attempts. Ferguson leads the conference in field-goal percentage (53.3 percent).

, DataTimes MEMO: Changed from the Idaho edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story: AREA LEADERS Scoring Player, school FG-FGA FT-FTA 3pt Avg. Alli Nieman, UI 68-142 75-98 4 17.9 Rebecca Moore, Whit. 49-123 37-46 23 15.8 Jen Tissue, Whit. 51-121 35-37 12 14.9 Tanya Kirk, EWU 66-191 23-34 19 14.5 Yvonne Kunze, WSU 52-98 25-39 0 12.9 Kristin Erickson, WSU 48-113 16-20 15 12.7 Shana Ray, EWU, 43-110 29-42 1 11.6 Rachel Ferguson, EWU 49-92 38-47 0 11.3 Amy Saneholtz, WSU 36-67 30-44 0 10.2 Sherri Northington, Whit. 46-94 15-33 1 10.8

Rebounding Northington, Whit., 9.2 (92); Nieman, Idaho, 8.8 (105); Kirk, EWU, 7.8 (94); Andrea Sherer, Whit., 6.3 (63); Kunze, WSU 6.0 (60).

Assists Jade Hyett, WSU, 6.6 (66); Tissue, Whitworth, 4.9 (49); Kathryn Gussett, UI, 3.2 (44); Rebecca Moore, Whit., 3.5 (35); Staci Andrews, GU, 2.7 (32).

Steals Hyett, WSU, 4.9 (49); Tissue, Whit., 3.0 (30); Gussett, UI, 2.7 (26); Nieman, UI, and Ari Skorpik, UI, 1.8 (21).

SCHEDULE Thursday: WSU at Oregon, 7; Eastern at Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Linfield at Whitworth, 6 p.m.; Idaho at Nevada, 7 p.m.; GU at Santa Clara, 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Willamette at Whitworth, 6 p.m.; Eastern at Weber State, 6 p.m.; WSU at Oregon State, 7 p.m.; GU at Saint Mary’s, 7:30 p.m. Monday: Southern Utah at WSU, 7 p.m.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Women’s basketball notebook

Changed from the Idaho edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story: AREA LEADERS Scoring Player, school FG-FGA FT-FTA 3pt Avg. Alli Nieman, UI 68-142 75-98 4 17.9 Rebecca Moore, Whit. 49-123 37-46 23 15.8 Jen Tissue, Whit. 51-121 35-37 12 14.9 Tanya Kirk, EWU 66-191 23-34 19 14.5 Yvonne Kunze, WSU 52-98 25-39 0 12.9 Kristin Erickson, WSU 48-113 16-20 15 12.7 Shana Ray, EWU, 43-110 29-42 1 11.6 Rachel Ferguson, EWU 49-92 38-47 0 11.3 Amy Saneholtz, WSU 36-67 30-44 0 10.2 Sherri Northington, Whit. 46-94 15-33 1 10.8

Rebounding Northington, Whit., 9.2 (92); Nieman, Idaho, 8.8 (105); Kirk, EWU, 7.8 (94); Andrea Sherer, Whit., 6.3 (63); Kunze, WSU 6.0 (60).

Assists Jade Hyett, WSU, 6.6 (66); Tissue, Whitworth, 4.9 (49); Kathryn Gussett, UI, 3.2 (44); Rebecca Moore, Whit., 3.5 (35); Staci Andrews, GU, 2.7 (32).

Steals Hyett, WSU, 4.9 (49); Tissue, Whit., 3.0 (30); Gussett, UI, 2.7 (26); Nieman, UI, and Ari Skorpik, UI, 1.8 (21).

SCHEDULE Thursday: WSU at Oregon, 7; Eastern at Sacramento State, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Linfield at Whitworth, 6 p.m.; Idaho at Nevada, 7 p.m.; GU at Santa Clara, 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Willamette at Whitworth, 6 p.m.; Eastern at Weber State, 6 p.m.; WSU at Oregon State, 7 p.m.; GU at Saint Mary’s, 7:30 p.m. Monday: Southern Utah at WSU, 7 p.m.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Women’s basketball notebook

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