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A short post this morning, not because we don’t have time, but because there isn’t much to link. But we do have a few, including a couple concerning the NIT. Read on.
We’re concentrating on the All-Pac-10 teams today and will turn our eyes toward Oregon and the Pac-10 Tournament tomorrow. We talked with Taylor Rochestie, DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson about their selections, though we let them talk about their teammates. I will relate one thing that didn’t make the story – the unedited version is on the link – and that has to do with Casto. The 6-foot-8 forward from Spokane was surprised to learn he made the all-freshman team asking “How did that happen?” Well, his teammates had the answer. “I could tell this summer he had a lot of ability,” Thompson said. “He hadn’t even touched a weight before and he was that strong.” Read on.
The Pac-10 awards are out (you can see the whole team here) and there are some surprises. Not among the bigger awards, with ASU’s James Harden as player of the year and UW’s Lorenzo Romar as the coach, but among the 10-man first team – and the honorable mention. On the plus side for WSU is Taylor Rochestie being named to the first team. The senior guard leads the Cougars in scoring and had that memorable game in Pauley Pavilion a couple of weeks ago. On the minus side, Aron Baynes, an honorable mention selection last year, didn’t earn that honor in this one. On the plus side, two WSU players – Klay Thompson, who was a lock, and DeAngelo Casto, a surprise – were named to the six-player All-Freshman team. On the minus, no Cougar earned all-defensive recognition, this from a team that led the conference in defense. The WSU pack must be exceptionally strong this season. We’ll have more later.
Last year at this time, we were wondering how many Cougars would make the Pac-10 first team (the answer: none), if WSU could get to Pac-10 tourney finals (the answer: no) and what seed WSU would get in the NCAA Tournament (the answer: four). This year there are different questions, but just as many. And they’ll start being answered today, when the Pac-10 reveals its awards. Will any Cougar be honored (the guess: yes, Klay Thompson on the all-freshman team and Taylor Rochestie somewhere on the All-Pac-10 team)? Read on for a couple links and some thoughts.
Honestly, after an 18-hour Saturday, fighting snow on I-5 and turbulence on two bumpy flights across the Cascades, I don’t know why I’m awake at this ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. Oops, 7:45 – thanks Mr. Daylight Saving Guy. Why am I typing this post? Really, I should be sleeping. But no, I’m here at the computer, watching it snow outside – is it really spring forward? – and wondering how the drive to Pullman will be this evening. Oh well, no rest for the wicked. Let’s get to our usual morning-after post. Then we’ll take two more Excedrin – and no, I don’t get a promo fee for that. Just an ulcer. Read on.
We said before the game Washington State had to get at least close to a draw on the boards to have a shot. Well, the Cougars didn’t, getting out-rebounded by 12. But they still had a shot coming down the stretch, and that tells a lot about how much this team has improved the past few weeks. With a lot going against them, the Cougars played the Pac-10 champions down to the wire on their home court. Bodes well for the postseason, a postseason that is all but assured and will be, I’m thinking, if they defeat the Oregon Ducks for a third time this year Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The winner will face UCLA at 8:30 Thursday. Read on for the unedited version of my game story.
Just a quick post because we have to get to the post-game interviews. The Cougars had their opportunities, which is an improvement over earlier in the season. Back then, playing without Klay Thompson in the second half, with an amped crowd that wanted a Pac-10 title solo, and struggling to get shots against a UW defense that was so passive the Huskies didn’t pick up a foul in the second half until there were 8 minutes, 26 seconds left, the Cougars would have been blown out. That didn’t happen Saturday. What did happen, though, is UW exposed the Cougars’ lack of depth. Without Thompson and Marcus Capers, also saddled with foul trouble, there were stretches in the second half WSU had to have Nik Koprivica bring the ball up. Taylor Rochestie kept WSU in the game on the offensive end, finishing with 23 points. The Cougar defense did the rest, refusing to yield despite UW’s repeated onslaughts until after the final media time out with 3:55 left. But in the end UW had too many second-chance points, too many points off turnovers – though WSU had just 10 – and too much firepower for WSU (three players in double figures, including 16 for Quincy Pondexter). We’ll be back in about two hours with our game story. Until then …
It is Senior Day at UW, with Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Artem Wallace honored before tipoff. Brockman is one of the top bigs to ever wear Husky purple, but this year’s Pac-10 champions are dependent on their guards. And they are pesky, especially when they are allowed to grab the opponent’s arm, which happened early in the first half. It wasn’t called and that’s part of the reason the officials let this game get away from them for a while. The play midway through the first half was way too physical, leading to a slew of turnovers and out-of-control shots. But the whistles began to blow later in the half, with UW’s Venoy Overton the guy who paid the price, with three fouls in a 2-minute period. Marcus Capers matched him, though his third was a no-brainer, 90-feet from the Cougar defensive end. That came in the middle of a close-out-the-first-half 5-0 run that gave UW its halftime lead. In that stretch the Huskies had five offensive rebounds and lead in the boards 25-15. Quincy Pondexter led Washington with 10 points, though Brockman has nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Aron Baynes has 11 and six, but Klay Thompson hasn’t scored since hitting a 15-foot jumper less than a minute into the game. The Cougars are 0-3 from beyond the arc, UW is 1-7. We’ll be back at the end with your chance to comment. Until then …
One. That’s the number of Pac-10 games Washington State has won when they’ve been outrebounded. The first Stanford game. Otherwise, against Cal twice, against USC in LA and, of course, the beating on the boards that was the Cougars first game against UW, the Cougars lost the boards and the game. The 36-20 UW margin was by far – USC by 12 was the next biggest margin – the worst performance on the glass WSU has endured this season. So obviously Washington State has to at least hold its own on the boards today. They’ll have to do it without Daven Harmeling, who injured his right shoulder at the end of practice Thursday and won’t play today. The shoulder sprain makes him day-to-day. It’s the same shoulder that’s been bothering him all season but not the one that cost him his sophomore season. For other thoughts about the showdown at BofA – or Hec Ed if you prefer – read on.
We are in Seattle, where the snow level is expected to plummet this afternoon and evening, which is always fun over here. Ah, well. As long as it’s warm in Hec Ed – it will be, in more ways than one – and the electricity stays on, we’ll be able to give you the coverage you deserve. For what’s being said about today’s basketball game – there is only one Apple Cup in my mind and it’s played outdoors – read on.
Washington State head coach June Daugherty, right, consoles her three senior players (left to right) Katie Appleton, Heather Molzen and Ebonee Coates after a 62-55 loss to Washington in an NCAA college basketball game Friday at Jack Friel Court in Pullman. ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)
Question: Do you take losing hard?
There’s not just a lot, but a heck of a lot riding on Saturday’s game with UW for Washington State – and, for UW as well. Our advance covers all of it. For the unedited version, read on.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:35 A.M.; 12:30 P.M.
Good morning. It’s clear and cold in Pullman though I understand it’s warmer in Seattle, where WSU will face the Huskies tomorrow. Last night’s Pac-10 results figured out a couple things in the standings: Cal will finish third, ASU fourth, Stanford ninth and Oregon 10th. Other than that, it’s up in the air. We have links for you this morning, so read on.
UPDATE 2: Sorry to do this to everyone, but I just received a call with a revised - and official - interpretation of the three-way tiebreaker from the Pac-10. The conference’s official word is, in the case of the USC, UA and WSU ending up in three-way tie (all winning Saturday), USC would finish fifth due to its 3-1 record in games between the teams. Then UA and WSU’s tie would be settled under the rules of the two-team tiebreaker. That means, because both would have defeated UW and UCLA once and lost both to Cal, WSU’s two wins over ASU (UA lost twice to the Sun Devils) would break the tie in WSU’s favor and the Cougars would be sixth. THIS IS FROM THE PAC-10 OFFICE as relayed by WSU basketball SID Jessica Schmick. All other ties would be broken as described below …
UPDATE 1 (EDITED): For a three-way tie at 9-9 between USC, UA and WSU, see paragraph above. If the Cougars win and either USC or UA lose, the Cougars are sixth in a head-to-head tie with USC, fifth if its UA. Also, if UA and WSU both lose and USC wins, USC is fifth, Arizona sixth and WSU seventh. And, of course, with those teams playing after the WSU-UW game, nothing will be known for sure until about 7:30 tomorrow night. If UA, USC and WSU were to all lose, UA would finish fifth, Oregon State sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth. If USC and WSU lose, OSU is sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth.
Just a quick post tonight. Another day, more economic bad news. But here on SportsLink, we’ve got our head in the sand. Everything’s coming up roses as far as we can see. For some good news (though I gave it away in the headline), read on.
UPDATE: After Cal’s win at Arizona, UCLA’s victory over Oregon State and USC’s win at home over Oregon, the Pac-10 tournament seeding has cleared up - for Washington State. As far as I can tell, I put up some incorrect information last night in the case of a three-way tie with USC and UA (presuming all three win Saturday). I read the Pac-10 multiple team tiebreaker rule one way (2a), as the “results of collective head-to-head-competition” as winnowing the multiple team tie down to two teams and then invoking rule 2b “If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.” Because USC would be 3-1, UA 2-2 and UWSU 1-3 in the three-team tiebreaker, that’s the way the seedings would fall, though I want to double-check that today. Of course, if WSU wins and either USC or Arizona loses, then it goes to the two-team tiebreaker. As we said, WSU wins that tiebreaker over UA (due to ASU wins) but loses to USC (0-2 against the Trojans). Of course, WSU could lose to the Huskies. If that happens, then there are other possibilities, explained by Dan below.
The Pac-10 gets back at it tonight. Everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Those two will wait until Saturday afternoon to get back on the court. By then the Huskies will know if they are Pac-10 champs by themselves or if they have to defeat the Cougars to earn that distinction. With UCLA playing the two Oregon schools at home, the guess here is UW will need to win Saturday to avoid sharing the top spot with the Bruins. For more on what’s going on with the Cougars and the conference, read on.
There are a lot of reasons behind Washington State’s three-game Pac-10 winning streak. The offense has been performing at a much-more efficient level, the defense has tightened up. Marcus Capers has started to exert himself on the defensive end against opponents’ point guards and DeAngelo Casto has continued to improve, bringing his energy on a more consistent basis. But there is one, somewhat-overlooked improvement that has helped the Cougars tighten up their rotation and allowed them to play with more consistency: Klay Thompson’s defense. The freshman from Southern California has been making strides all year, but the light has if not gone on, it’s at least shining brighter. Read on for the story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.
Well, it seems the Seattle University Redhawks are not yet ready to play with the big guys in Washington after all. OK, that’s not fair. One nonconference game at UW isn’t a true test, but the Huskies did blow them out last night, leading to many television sets in Seattle turning over to the last part of Reaper on the WB. Which would have been an appropriate metaphor for UW’s postseason chances if the injury to Quincy Pondexter was as serious as it initially looked. But Pondexter, who went down hard in the first half and took a long time to get up, returned to play in the second half, suffering from bruised ribs. He looks to be OK. Read on.
A few things to talk about this evening, though not as much as usual on a Tuesday afternoon. That’s because WSU did not practice today, doing a little lifting and individual work instead. So the players were unavailable. But coach Tony Bennett did meet with the media as usual, and we have some of what he said. Read on.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:25 A.M.
Looking at the comments from our previous post, we can see the complexity of the Pac-10’s tie-breaking rules tripped up a lot of people. That’s one reason we said we’d wait until things cleared up a little bit. But here is a pertinent fact: WSU really needs a win over Washington. That would help immensely. But even a 9-9 record won’t guarantee anything, if Arizona and USC win twice. That would make UA fifth and USC sixth, winner in the head-to-head-tiebreaker with WSU. Other than that, there are many possibilities, but a lot of them revolve around defeating the Huskies in Seattle. On UW’s Senior Day. With the Huskies playing for sole possession of the Pac-10 title. That’s a tough task. For other items on this Monday, read on.
UPDATE: Just thought I would pass on the link to the latest rankings because, if you look at the bottom of the Associated Press, under the others receiving votes, you’ll see WSU with 4 points. That would put them at 37th as far as I can tell.
As I peruse the Pac-10’s tie-breaker rules, trying to see how Washington State could avoid the Wednesday play-in games, I was reminded of the last piece of furniture I tried to put together. You know, the one with the instructions that state “put tab A into slot F, twist until you hear a crack, then throw the whole thing in the trash because it’s a piece of junk.” Remember putting stuff like that together? Well, as far as I can tell, unless the Cougars defeat UW next Saturday in Seattle, there’s little chance for them to finish in the top six. USC and Oregon State – now, the Beavers losing tonight in Eugene would help immensely – play each other next week and the team that wins that game more than likely will have the tiebreaker edge on WSU. And that’s the Cougars main problem. In just about every case, everybody they are battling for the last of top six spots, Arizona, USC and Oregon State, holds the tierbreaker edge over them. Still there are a lot of variables that will be cleared up after next Thursday’s games, so it makes more sense to go into more detail then. Just remember this, the Cougars still have a shot at missing the Wednesday games. But it will take a few things happening. Read on for our next-day coverage of the Senior Day win over ASU.
I ran into one of the Cougar coaches in the Beasley Coliseum halls after the game. He was smiling. Mostly because WSU is playing the type of basketball the staff envisioned before the season. Three freshmen contributing and combining with the senior group to give WSU enough on both ends of the court to compete in the Pac-10 and beyond. With their second consecutive win over ASU, it looks like the Cougars will be playing beyond. Whatever the tournament, the improving Cougars may be a tough out for anyone. Click the link for the unedited version of our game story.
Taylor Rochestie’s 28-footer. That’s what you’ll remember from the Cougars’ 51-49 victory. But there was more. Any defensive-minded coach preaches offense comes and goes. Your defense has to hold you in close games. You know you’ve heard Tony Bennett say it more than once. But it was never more true than Saturday – for both teams. The Sun Devils have a sure-fire NBA top 10 pick in James Harden and they struggled to score. The Cougars, well they don’t have any sure-fire first round picks but they have been executing well offensively recently. Not Saturday. But with the game on the line, it was Rochestie who came through. We’ll be back in a couple hours with the game story.
So what did you expect from the two teams that sit atop the Pac-10 shooting percentage defense statistic? An offensive shootout? Well, you would have been sorely disappointed. And not too smart. These are teams that play the same type of defense, just one in a matchup zone and the other in a pack man-to-man. Usually the difference would be James Harden, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 21 points a game. But the Cougars have shut him down – he has three points – at the expense of giving up open looks from 3 – ASU is 5 of 8 from there. Still, with the halftime score 23-20, you have to believe both teams feel good about their defense. One prediction: Harden will not finish with six points. He’ll get his shots and points in the second half. By the way, WSU trailed by three at half in Tempe. We’ll be back at the end.
I don’t know if this will be as shocking as Darwin’s theory of evolution, but the next two WSU games are going to be a survival of the fittest. And, in the basketball sense, I’m not sure the Cougars can survive. Read on.
As Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes and Caleb Forrest and Daven Harmeling prepare to play their final game on Friel Court in an attempt to win the 79th game in the past four years, we prepare to put up our 347th post of the basketball season. Nowhere near a record for either, but both quite an accomplishment. Read on.
Arizona State will enter Beasley Coliseum tomorrow coming off a tough loss in Seattle, a loss that possibly cost the Sun Devils a shot at the Pac-10 title. So how will they respond? And how will the Cougars deal with the emotions of senior day? We’ll find out, of course, in less than 24 hours. Until then, you can read our advance for tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.
Good morning. A little celebrating by the neighbors last night around the apartment complex, or was it just a typical Thursday night in Pullman? Whatever, the noise didn’t die down until late, or early, depending on your perspective. Mine is in the shut-the-heck-up-and-go-to-bed-it’s-after-midnight category. Anyhow, here is our morning post, with links and some more comments. Pardon any typos. I’m still asleep. Read on.
Sorry this took so long, but … OK, I have no excuse. I just took a long time to write it. It’s ready now, so click the link. You’ll find the unedited story along with some web-only notes.
The looks were there in the first half, the ball just didn’t go in. Call it the curse of the east basket. The Cougars made them in the second – on the west side. And, because they shot the lights out (68 percent in the second half at the west basket), WSU earned its seventh Pac-10 win Thursday, but only its third at home. The Cougars, who trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, built a lead of 17 points and held off the Cats down the stretch. This was a game WSU’s 4s, the power forwards, dominated offensively. Caleb Forrest hit a career-high nine free throws and scored 15 points. DeAngelo Casto added a career-high 11 points, four coming on layups from the high post in which he went to the hole uncontested. Taylor Rochestie and Klay Thompson combined for 33. We’ll be back in a couple hours with the game story.
Though the numbers don’t show it – they are bad, but not Stanford bad – this was the worst offensive first half of the season for the Cougs. They are shooting 29 percent, including just 3 of 13 beyond the arc. The real problem is most of the shots have been great looks, not tough shots taking under duress. That’s what’s so poor about the half. Oops, almost forgot the nine turnovers, including five (officially, I have him with six) by Klay Thompson. But Thompson hit a 3-pointer as time expired and despite all the problems, WSU was down by just three. The key stat tonight: WSU is dominating the boards, with a 20-13 edge, including 8-1 on the offensive end. That’s giving the Cougars more attempts (28 to 21) despite the turnovers. If it wasn’t for Nic Wise, with 15 points, the Cougars would be up. In fact, besides Wise, Chase Budinger (eight) and Jordan Hill (six) – UA’s big three – no one else wearing a blue uniform has scored. Caleb Forrest leads WSU with nine, seven from the line. … Before we go to halftime, there’s one thing I don’t understand. When a player is on the floor with the ball and another player dives on top of his back, trying to tie him up, why is that not a foul? If they both were standing up, and player two dove on player one’s back, it would be a foul, right? Doesn’t make sense to me. It happened again – I think I’ve seen it at least a half-dozen times this season – in the first half and the official called a jump ball, despite the player on the court having his chest ground into the floor. Just saying. … We’ll be back at the end.