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.
• For all of you Tuesday who said you couldn't root for the Huskies no matter what, it didn't matter. They won. And if they win Saturday against Arizona, they will clinch a share of the Pac-10 title no matter what happens in a week. That game with WSU could end up being pretty darn crucial for the Cougars, though passing USC and Oregon State for sixth, and the first-day bye in the Pac-10 tourney, will still be tough, considering the Trojans are at Stanford, then have the two Oregon schools at home. The Beavers play at Oregon and in LA, so seventh-place – and a first-round matchup with the Ducks – is still a possibility. All that has been set up by WSU's play of late, including last night's impressive 69-53 romp over Arizona, as bad a loss the Wildcats have had this year administered by anyone not named UCLA. You can find our coverage here. (I'm having trouble linking the story that appeared in the paper. No matter. SportsLink has you covered with the most in-depth Cougar coverage around - hey, with newspapers closing right and left, I'm trying to sell the high-tech product, OK?). ... Also, there is freelancer Howie Stalwick's story in the Kitsap Sun and other papers along with the Associated Press piece in the Seattle Times. ... From Arizona, you can find Bruce Pascoe's coverage in the Daily Star along with Steve Rivera's piece in the Tucson Citizen, one of those papers that's closing. (Changing gears, if you want a smile, read this blog post.) ... Around the Pac-10, the Husky win was covered by all angles in the Seattle Times, but we'll link Bob Condotta's game story. AP's Tim Booth had this gamer in the News Tribune and there is Dan Raley's coverage in the P-I, another of those papers who's end is near. Sorry to be gloomy, but it's the truth. ... UCLA rallied past Stanford and stay within a game of Washington while Cal held off USC in overtime.
• OK, now to what the players and coaches had to say after WSU's win last night. You got a lot of it in my game story but there were a few more choice tidbits available.
• WSU coach Tony Bennett on attacking UA's pressure: "You do get some pretty rhythm looks if you handle the pressure. You've just got to step up and knock them down."
• The halftime conversation: "We talked about we were happy we fought our way back into it, but we had to tighten up defensively. ... We were tougher defensively and had a presence about us, which we've been waiting for."
• Arizona's Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger and Nic Wise: "They have three of those guys who can turn a game around and I thought we kept them at bay in the second half."
• Klay Thompson on the shot just before the half: "I felt comfortable shooting it."
• Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell on the Cougars' eight offensive rebounds in the first half: "They were shooting the 3-point shot in the first half. There were a lot of long rebounds that we just didn't pursue the ball and run it down like we should. Really, Washington State is not a great offensive rebounding team so that was a little disappointing that we weren't able to hustle and get those long rebounds."
• On WSU putting Capers on Wise: "(Capers) is a little bigger, a little more athletic. They did a good job of bottling him up and keeping him from getting in the paint."
• That's it for this morning. We'll be at practice this afternoon and have something for you this evening. Until then …