Latest from The Spokesman-Review
From Pullman — The first third of the Pac-12 basketball season is over and the conference is starting to take shape. The Pac-12 has four teams that comprise the first tier, with a noticeable drop off in talent among the remaining squads. Some teams have been bitten by injuries, while others have had unexpected stars emerge. Arizona is clearly at the top of the conference, USC is clearly at the bottom and it's becoming apparent which teams will contend for spots 2-4 in the conference, and which won't.
Our Power Rankings took a look at where the Pac-12 stands today, after the jump.
From Pullman — Well, at least the Seahawks won. It's small consolation on a day that the Washington State women's basketball team suffered its first conference loss, falling in the final seconds to Utah. Even worse, it was the Utes' first Pac-12 win. Still, it's not all doom and gloom on the Palouse, not with the news that a talented wide receiver has decided that he'd like to catch a pass or 200 in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. And he's probably not the only one.
A couple links, after the jump.
From Berkeley — The Washington State men's basketball team couldn't build on an impressive first half and fell to Cal on Saturday. On SportsLink we've got videos up of Ken Bone as well as players D.J. Shelton and Royce Woolridge. We've also got the box score.
More links after the jump.
From Berkeley — Sometimes a loss serves as a big enough wakeup call. Sometimes an extra intense practice full of shouting and punitive conditioning isn't the best motivational tool at a coach's disposal. Washington State's men's basketball coaches are subscribing to that philosophy, and had a light practice on Friday in preparation for today's game against Cal. They face a Golden Bears team that is quickly rising in the national conscience. The football team saw its first departure of the Spring, with wide receiver Bobby Ratliff deciding to retire his mouthguard.
The women's basketball just keeps winning, and is now 5-0 in the Pac-12 after knocking off No. 21 Colorado.
More links, after the jump.
From Berkley — Though the Cougars rested, it was elsewhere an eventful day in Pac-12 hoops. Colorado's struggled to deal with its recent rash of injuries in a 69-56 loss to UCLA … Utah's offense returned to form in an 84-66 win over USC … The Sun Devils were no challenge for their top-ranked rival … Here on SportsLink we took a look back at WSU's loss to Stanford.
In football news, ASU coach Todd Graham responds to rumors that he was lobbying for other jobs … It will be hard for Cal to improve on its dismal record with talented players continuing to enter the NFL draft … A look inside Oregon defensive coordinator Mike Aliotti's retirement announcement … SI's interview with new USC coach Steve Sarkisian …
From Palo Alto — You take two steps forward, one step back. Such describes Washington State's past three men's basketball games. After a couple of good outings last week, the Cougars struggled mightily against the Cardinal. On the blog we've got video of Royce Woolridge, Que Johnson and Ken Bone, as well as a box score.
It was a bad day for Washington schools in The Bay, as he Huskies met a similar fate against the Golden Bears.
From Pullman — Well, hope you enjoyed having the Cougars in Pullman. It may have been brief, but at least WSU won its only home Pac-12 game out of the first six. With classes starting on Monday the team barely had time to grab its syllabi before jetting off to the Bay Area to face the Northern California schools. Up first is Stanford, and we've got an advance … After beating Utah, the Cougars are hoping to put together a winning streak and get back on the right foot. That's the good news. The bad news is they'll have to do it without DaVonte Lacy, who won't be suiting up anytime soon.
With his rib injury, Lacy can't participate in all the fun Pac-12 guards are having this season.
Links from around the conference, after the jump.
From Pullman — Yesterday was the start of called for Spring semester at Washington State and the students were back on campus. That includes six new Cougars who enrolled for Spring quarter (although apparently Calvin Green is arriving today). In the morning, Bud Nameck hosted Cougar Calls, which you can listen to here or read our recap. Bud Withers of the Seattle Times takes a look at the teams to beat in 2014, and the paper also has a piece on former WSU basketball player Patrick Simon. CougCenter's Kyle Sherwood takes a closer look at the shot charts from the Cougars game against Utah.
Follow the jump for links from around the Pac-12.
From Pullman — By the time the Cougars are one-third of the way through Pac-12 play, they'll have only played one game in Pullman. So it's a good thing they won it last night, against Utah, 49-46. It's the Cougars first Pac-12 win and it came thanks to a gritty defense. It was a good win for WSU, which again played without DaVonte Lacy. While there is no timetable yet for his return, it's hard to see how he could get ready in time for the Cougars' upcoming Bay Area trip.
More links after the jump.
During the years when my children were in school, when I was tied to their academic calendar, I wasn’t able to just pick up and go when the mood struck. That kind of freedom didn’t come for another decade. But once a year I would pack up the family, more often than not, just my two youngest daughters—the others had summer jobs and other commitments—and run away to the Oregon Coast.
With the girls and the dogs in the car, squeezed in beside coolers and lawn chairs, beach towels and a big bag of books, we would drive for hours until we arrived at our favorite spot, a small town with no mall, no fast food, no distractions. And we would stay for as long as I could afford to keep us there.
I took extra assignments during the year to pay for a cottage. I would work late into the night so that when summer came I could throw myself at the Pacific the way we fall on our mothers, desperate for the comfort of something bigger than the small petty worries that chased themselves around my mind morning, noon and night.
Those were wonderful days. When the fickle weather allowed, we spent hours playing in the sand, but there was the greater luxury of time for myself. While the girls slept or read or worked a puzzle in whatever cottage I’d rented that year, I would make my way down to the water. I would close my ears to everything but the sound of the waves hitting the shore, close my eyes to everything but the search for shells and agates on the beach. I would walk for miles up and down the beach, my back bent, my mind wandering, letting the cold wind and stinging sand scour away the brittle crust that had formed around me.
Somehow, answers that eluded me everywhere else always seemed easier to catch and hold while I walked the beach. Without the stress of keeping house, meeting work deadlines, volunteering at school and all the other matters that constantly distracted me, I could read my own mind and make sense of things. I could see people and issues more clearly. Words filled my head and sentences and paragraphs wrote themselves, and stayed where I could find them when I got back to the cottage and sat down to my computer. Without the distraction of television or friends calling and coming over, I could reconnect with my children on a more intimate level. Keeping my eyes on the horizon, I made peace with what I could not change and measured the distance to dreams I was chasing.
It’s no wonder those days at the beach, in the company of the wild Pacific Ocean and my own sweet daughters, have taken on such a warm glow in my memory.
Life has a way of chipping away at us at times: Old friends battle cancer. Work disappoints or becomes less fulfilling. Loved ones lose their way and our own ambitions shift and take new direction. To work through such matters requires equal measures of silence and solitude.
I can’t go back in time; the two young girls are grown now and no longer mine to put in my car and drive away. But I can go back to the place we were so happy. The sea is still there. The waves still crash against the rocks on the shore and the wind still blows. What I need is somewhere on that beach, half buried with the agates and bits of broken shells. All I have to do is put my head down and walk until I find it.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” (available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane) and can be reached at email@example.com
From Pullman — The WSU-UW rivalry in women's hoops continues to be a one-sided affair with the dominant school predictably winning every game as much a certainty as the sunset or the tide's endless back and forth. Yes, the Washington State women tacked another win onto The Streak, which now stands at two games. The WSU athletics site has Bobby Alworth's game story from the Cougars' win in Seattle.
With the win, the women are 4-0 in conference play for the first time in school history. They're also 2-0 against the Huskies this season, who the team previously hadn't beaten since 1995. Tia Presley led the Cougars with 29 points. Before the season coach June Daughtery pronounced that WSU would make the postseason this year, and the team — which also has a pair of wins over top-25 opponents — seems to be doing everything it can to reward her faith.
The men will take on Utah at 4 p.m. today. Here is our advance for that game.
More links, after the jump.
From Pullman — We know live in a world in which there is just one Pac-12 basketball game being played on Saturday, today, and five on Sunday. Here's an advance for that game between Oregon State and Cal.
More links, after the jump.
From Pullman — Washington State was out of action of Thursday, so we took another look at the overtime loss to No. 15 Colorado. I also put out my power rankings, which were quickly and thoroughly made worthless by a slate of Pac-12 games. No. 17 Oregon continued to slide, falling to Cal, which is looking like one of the conference's best teams despite having a few key players out with injuries … Oregon State picked up a conference win against Stanford, which is surprisingly struggling so far in Pac-12 play … Arizona edged UCLA in the night's marquee matchup … And USC proved to be an easy outing for the Sun Devils.
From Pullman — Well, it looks like it's going to be one of those years. The Pac-12 is much improved but that doesn't mean that there isn't league-wide parity, or that any team can't beat any other team on any given night. We found that out last night when WSU nearly knocked off Colorado, which beat Oregon, who is really good.
But we'll try and make some sense of it all in our power rankings after the jump.
From Pullman — It was a bittersweet day for Washington State men's basketball fans. On the one hand, the Cougars showed that they can score the ball against a good team without DaVonte Lacy. But on the other hand, the Cougars couldn't hold a lead against No. 15 Colorado, falling by a single point in overtime. Here's our game story, as well as Colin Mulvaney's photo gallery from the game, which was played at the Spokane Arena. We've also got the box score and post game video from coach Ken Bone, as well as Dexter Kernich-Drew and Royce Woolridge. With Washington beating Utah, the trip to the Evergreen State could still prove to be a formidable one for Pac-12 teams.
Now the Cougars can finally return to Beasley Coliseum, where they haven't played a home game since December 28th, 2013. John Blanchette spoke with Bill Moos about the state of the WSU program and what the future may hold.
More from the rest of the conference, after the jump.
Things didn't go well for the Cougars in Tempe as WSU lost not only the game, but again lost DaVonte Lacy, who made his first start in over a week but was re-injured midway through the first half. Even more problematic, the Cougars scored just 72 points over the weekend for an average of 36 points a game. Needless to say, that won't cut it in Pac-12 play.
However, the women's basketball team again held court, completing a sweep of the Arizona schools with a two-point victory over the Wildcats to improve to 2-0 in conference.
From Tempe — Unless a team is contending for the conference championship, a Pac-12 road split in basketball is nearly always a success. So Washington State can still make something out of this Arizona trip with a win tomorrow … It's time to sign up for a Night with Cougar Football.
The Cougars aren't the only basketball team playing on Sunday. The rivalry between UCLA and USC will add a new chapter when their first-year head coaches square off for the first time, and Oregon will visit Colorado for a matchup of ranked teams.
Bonus Link: Texas finally has a new football coach. But is it a good fit?
From Tempe — The WSU women defended home court to open Pac-12 play with a win over No. 24/25 Arizona State. It was the second win over a ranked win for the Cougars (7-6, 1-0 Pac-12), who also beat No. 10 Nebraska earlier this season. It wasn't the only upset in Pac-12 women's hoops, as USC knocked off No. 12 Colorado.
On the men's side, Washington will get its turn against No. 1 Arizona tomorrow. The Huskies will have to face Aaron Gordon, who could have been a teammate of theirs. Utah and Oregon State are still winless in conference play, but one of them won't be after they face off tomorrow.
In Pac-12 football news, a number of players are declaring their intentions to leave early for the NFL draft. These include USC's Marquise Lee, Cal's Khairi Fortt, Terrance Mitchell of Oregon, Brandon Cooks of Oregon State.
From Tempe — Here's a travel tip for those of you who may want to fly south for the winter. If you're in Tucson at midnight and are thinking about driving to Tempe with a quarter tank of gas and a fuel cap that won't open, don't. Just call me Rick Steves. Still, I'm sure I had a better trip than the Washington State men's basketball team, which didn't have a great time playing shorthanded against the best team in the country on the road. Now they have to play an Arizona State team that should be riled up after losing its conference home-opener to the Huskies.
In other Pac-12 openers, No. 10 Oregon remained undefeated but it was Utah that came away looking like a team to be reckoned with, taking the Ducks to overtime before falling, 70-68 … Cal's Justin Cobbs scored a bevy of points in the final minutes as the Golden Bears won the Battle of the Bay … Colorado avoided an upset at home against Oregon State.
Here on SportsLink we've got an interview with yours truly conducted by the Greatest WSU Basketball Manager of All Time and a post on WSU athletic director Bill Moos' son being named to the MaxPreps Freshman All-American team as a tight end.
From Tempe — Did you get a wink of sleep last night? Me neither. Not with Pac-12 basketball finally about to begin. We've got our conference power rankings and a look at how the conference has returned to the college basketball spotlight. The Cougars will get a taste of just how good this conference in during their Arizona swing. While the Wildcats may be No. 1, the Sun Devils are no slouches, either.
The Arizona Daily Star takes a look at the conference's bests and worsts.
In football news, Stanford was the ninth and final Pac-12 team to play its bowl game, losing the Rose Bowl in dramatic fashion to Michigan State. With the loss, the Pac-12 finishes a respectable but not exemplary 6-3 in its bowl games. Thanks, Stanford.
The Pac-12 is asserting itself as one of the better basketball conferences in the country. After five years as a mid-majors in wolfs' clothing, the Conference of Champions has finally replenished the exodus of talent that left in the 2007 and 2008 NBA drafts. It's great that the Pac-12 is starting to once again get some national respect, but with conference play beginning tomorrow, it's no longer time for the fans to hold hands, sing Kumbaya and pretend to root for each other's school in the hopes of pleasing the RPI gods.
Starting tomorrow, all that matters is how the teams stack up in conference.
Here's where we're at so far.
From Pullman — Boston College running back Andre Williams beat out Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Washington's Bishop Sankey for the Doak Walker award given to the nation's top running back. How staunch, how breach-less, then, the Arizona run defense must have been to hold the Boston Battering Ram to 75 yards on 26 carries. We shouldn't diminish Williams, however. In this writer's opinion, he could become a very solid Pac-12 running back with a little work.
The Pac-12 continued to flex its muscle nationally in Tuesday's bowl performances. If there are small children in your household, I hope you had the good sense to avert their eyes during UCLA's public shaming of Virginia Tech. Brett Hundley may have been the best quarterback in Texas yesterday.
Anyways, why are all these former WSU coaches ending up in Seattle? Are they lost? Do they hate buffalo wings? I lived in Seattle for five years and never once tasted wings as good as the ones at Birch & Barley last night … Will anyone challenge Arizona in hoops this year? WSU has the first shot … Seattle Weekly with a story on concussions that features a former WSU football player.
Tha-tha-tha-THAT'S ALL FOLKS.
Oh, and have a happy new year.
From Pullman — A couple more Pac-12 teams had their bowl games on Monday, and while Oregon cruised past Texas, Arizona State was carved up by Texas Tech. In the paper we've got an update on sidelined WSU basketball player DaVonte Lacy and the info on how you can watch football coach Mike Leach take on some different challenges.
UCLA coach Jim Mora thinks QB Brett Hundley will forego the draft … A few more coaches joined the conga line heading from Seattle to Los Angeles … The New York Times takes a look inside Stanford's weight training program.
From Pullman — The Washington State basketball team didn't learn until a couple hours before the game that they would be without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, who is in the hospital recovering from appendicitis surgery. Fortunate, then, that the Cougars were playing Mississippi Valley State, who they easily beat … CougCenter's Brian Floyd has a nice profile of WSU defensive line coach Joe Salave'a …
In other basketball news Shaq McKissic continues to ball for Arizona State … Oh, wow! The Utes made St. Katherine look like some overmatched sacrifice team! … Down two starters, Cal still rolled … The Pac-12 had its way with the SEC, with Colorado dispatching Georgia and UCLA beating Alabama.
The Pac-12 will resume football action when Oregon and Arizona State will play their bowl games tomorrow.
From Pullman — Another Pac-12 team played its bowl game, yesterday, with Washington defeating BYU in San Francisco. The Huskies may have won the game, but they lost their star tight end, who will enter the NFL draft … In basketball the Huskies beat Mississippi Valley State, who the Cougars will host tonight.
Links from around the conference after the jump.
From Pullman — With no football or basketball games in the Pac-12 yesterday, it was what we in “the biz” like to call a “slow news day”. Still, we managed to scrounge up a few links:
- Three newcomers will need to continue to improve for the WSU men's basketball team to have a shot in conference play.
- Could the Cougars have a top-50 football team next season?
- A holiday break did nothing to blunt ASU's edge.
- After a month of distractions, the Huskies will finally get to play a game.
- Vote for your favorite bowl performance by a Pac-12 player.
Our photographer, Tyler Tjomsland, and I spent all day yesterday getting back to the Evergreen State from New Mexico. So of course, all heck broke loose. First, Colorado State forcefully massaged assistant coach Greg Lupfer's wrist for his homophobic outburst directed at Connor Halliday on Saturday. Then, we got word that linebacker Feddie Davey may be done at WSU.
As if that weren't enough, it appears that defensive line coach Joe Salave'a may be mulling an offer to join Steve Sarkisian at USC. We'll pass along more info when we can get it.
Here's the now deleted tweet about Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salave'a: pic.twitter.com/B0gK6gNjbY— Shotgun Spratling (@ShotgunSpr) December 23, 2013
From Albuquerque — Fun fact: It's actually cheaper to stay an extra day in New Mexico than it is to fly out the day after a bowl game with Christmas right around the corner. I guess there was a demand for Southwest Airlines' supply of tickets. But enough advanced Smithian economics for today, you're here for the links.
I've got a story on how Washington State is trying to shake off its New Mexico Bowl loss … It's something that Jim Moore is having difficulty with … Howie Stalwick thinks it will be awhile before the Cougars recover … DCSU defensive line coach Greg Lupfer used profane and bigoted language during a volatile exchange with WSU quarterback Connor Halliday … Lupfer has “apologized” via Twitter and the incident is under investigation by CSU … Also subscribe to the Lewiston Tribune? Check out Dale Grummert's Monday Morning Quarterback.
More links, after the jump.
From Albuquerque — Well, Washington State certainly provided a memorable start to the 2013 bowl season, even it was due to an 18-point collapse in the fourth quarter. The Cougars lost, 48-45, and we've got a game story for masochistic WSU fans and Rams who have wandered over in search of links. It wasn't all bad, however, as Connor Halliday and company wrote their names in permanent ink in the record books.
Tyler Tjomsland has a photo gallery from the game … John Blanchette notes that the Cougars could have benefitted from better clock management at the end of both halves … We've got a notebook from the game, featuring breakout Cougar Theron West … Thomas Clouse filled in for me yesterday, and watched the WSU men's basketball team fall to UTEP, and watched the women's team fall to Gonzaga.
From Albuquerque — The day is finally here. In five short hours, WSU's decade-long bowl drought will finally be in that over. A lot has happened in that decade. Coaches have come and gone, control of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Presidency have all changed hands, and the scourge known as Biebermania has made itself known.
Here is our advance for the New Mexico Bowl, which kicks off at 11 a.m. … John Blanchette may descend into madness if he hears one more speech by a bowl representative comparing the WSU and CSU colors to red and green chilies. But hey, he thinks the Cougars are a lock to win … Some timely quotes from former WSU coaches Mike Levenseller and Jim Walden … Our 2 Minute Drill explains how the Cougars can win the game, just don't show it to anybody from Colorado State … S-R photographer Tyler Tjomsland has a gallery of yesterday's bowl festivities … Yesterday's WSU bowl rewind looked at the 2003 Rose Bowl. Don't miss today's final installment of the series … Bud Withers of the Seattle Times has made a list and checks are involved. Wait, is Withers Santa Clause?
Note: If you're in town for the game, do yourself a favor and check out Rudy's for some excellent BBQ. If you're looking for some Southwestern flavor, you can't beat El Pinto. It's one of those places with a wall full of photographs of the rich and famous who have dined at the establishment, though they somehow seem to have missed Tjomsland, Blanchette and I.