Growing pains are a thing of the past for the Washington State women’s basketball team.
“We don’t have any freshmen anymore,” coach June Daugherty said Tuesday from Atlanta, where her Cougars are preparing for Wednesday night’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament semifinal game at Georgia Tech.
Tipoff is at 4 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion on the Georgia Tech campus.
“The freshmen have become sophomores and the juniors are seniors,” said Daugherty, whose team has grown up in a hurry by winning four WNIT games, including three on the road.
“There’s great maturity by this group, and a silver lining was to be on the road in the first two games,” Daugherty said.
After going 12-19 in the regular season, WSU earned the WNIT bid by being the highest-finishing Pac-12 team (6-12) that didn’t earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars have made the most of the opportunity, winning at BYU and Wyoming before dispatching UC Davis last week in Pullman.
On Sunday, they overcame a hostile environment at Iowa, beating the Hawkeyes 74-66 for a season-best fourth straight win.
As they have done all postseason, the Cougs were led by their guards. Alexys Swedlund scored a game-high 20 points, while the junior duo of Pinelopi Pavlopoulou and Caila Hailey put together double-double performances.
The Cougs are one of just two Pac-12 teams still standing with Stanford earning a spot in the NCAA Final Four. The Cardinal eliminated the Cougs in the Pac-12 Tournament before going on to win the championship and earn a No. 2 seed in the postseason.
Wednesday’s game will be the first meeting between the Cougars and Yellow Jackets, who will host their fifth straight WNIT game.
Georgia Tech defeated Jacksonville, Central Florida, Middle Tennessee and Alabama to earn its spot in the semifinals.
Three Yellow Jackets players are averaging double-digits in scoring, led by Zaire O’Neil at 12.5 points per game.
Michigan hosts Villanova in the other semifinal, which also tips off Wednesday night.