June Daugherty summed it up quite simply.
“We have to be able to rebound,” the Washington State women’s basketball coach said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Daughtery was speaking literally, of course, about rebounding in order to get more looks at second and third shots in an effort to jumpstart the Cougars’offense – which has been out of sync and is still adjusting after losing guard Ireti Amojo, a key component to WSU’s offense.
It’s not just the Cougars that need to rebound, however. After last week, all area Division I women’s basketball teams are looking to bounce back from losses – some more surprising than others. Read on for the rest of my unedited area college women's basketball notebook, which will run in tomorrow's paper.
The most shocking loss, of course, was Gonzaga’s 66-63 home loss to West Coast Conference rival St. Mary’s – ending the Bulldogs’ 34-game WCC win streak that began at the end of the 2008-09 season. If you count their play in the WCC Tournament since then, the Bulldogs (15-3, 4-1 WCC) had won their last 40 conference games.
“We’ve forgotten about it,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said on Tuesday. “I’ve been coaching a long time and I knew we weren’t going to win every game forever. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen at home and against a contender, but … I’m not displeased with our effort. (The loss) is a setback, but I’m thinking of the bigger picture, and I’m not deeply concerned.”
As a result of the loss, Gonzaga – which has won the WCC regular season title for the past seven seasons – dropped three spots in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll to No. 25. After cracking the Associated Press Top 25 poll last week, the Bulldogs fell off the list this week.
The Bulldogs are on the road this week, beginning with a stop at Santa Clara (8-9, 1-3) on Thursday night – where Graves will go head-to-head with his former assistant coach Jennifer Mountain – and an afternoon game at San Diego (12-4, 3-1) on Saturday.
“(Santa Clara) shoots the ball well and they often score three at a time,” Graves said. “We have to run them off the 3-point line. We expect a real battle. We have to play extra hard and stay extra focused.
“With San Diego, they’re tenacious,” he added. “They play really good defense. We have two big tests this week and I am confident we’ll bounce back.”
Daugherty’s Cougars (9-8, 3-2 Pacific-12 Conference), who are also on the road twice this week, are also looking to bounce back after Saturday’s loss to Washington – their 33rd straight loss to the Huskies.
“Obviously we were disappointed in our play this weekend,” Daugherty said. “The big thing for us is we’re trying to get back into a rhythm offensively, and we haven’t been able to do that for a few games. I think it’s just a matter of time before we kind of get that rythym back, and when we do then we won’t have to count on our defense as much as we’ve had to count on it to create offense.”
WSU will have a tall order against conference-leading Stanford Cardinal (15-1, 6-0) on Thursday night and Cal (13-5, 4-2) on Saturday afternoon.
Daugherty will also be up against a familiar face in longtime Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who Daugherty assisted for four years in the late 1980’s. In 52 meetings, the Cougars have never beaten Stanford – ranked No. 4 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls.
Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads the Pac-12 with 23.4 points a game and 11.5 rebounds and the Cardinal lead the conference in scoring offense (80.1 ppg), free throw percentage (73.2) and field goal percentage (46.7).
“We’re getting ready for maybe the two biggest lines in the country, and some of the best post players – no doubt – in the world,” Daugherty said. “It’s that good – and that’s part of being in the Pac-12, you have great players like that.
“We cannot allow both teams to get into their running games, they both will get up and down the floor and they both have a great group of weapons that can score at any time. We’ve got to take away passing lanes and not just allow them to pound the ball inside.”
The Eastern Washington women also had a disappointing weekend when they saw a three-game winning streak come to an end after dropping a 56-53 contest to defending Big Sky champion Northern Colorado on Saturday.
The Eagles (10-9, 4-2 Big Sky) will be on the road for their next three conference matchups, beginning with Portland State (11-6, 3-2) on Saturday. The Vikings are 6-1 at home this season.
After dropping their first two Western Athletic Conference contests last week, the Idaho women are looking to end a five-game skid when the Vandals (5-13, 0-2 WAC) host Nevada (4-12, 0-1) on Thursday in their WAC home-opener and follow up by hosting Fresno State (13-4, 1-0) on Saturday evening.
AREA STAT LEADERS
Brianne Ryan, EWU … 18.8
Kayla Standish, GU … 15.8
Alyssa Charlston, UI … 13.6
Katelan Redmon, GU … 12.6
Haiden Palmer, GU … 12.3
Stacey Barr, UI … 10.1
Chene Cooper, EWU … 9.9
Carrie Ojeda, EWU … 9.6
Charlston, UI … 7.8
Jazmine Perkins, WSU … 7.6
Standish, GU … 7.2
Ojeda, EWU … 6.5
Redmon, GU … 6.1
Kelly Bowen, GU … 5.9
Ryan, EWU … 5.5
Melissa Williams, EWU … 5.1
Cooper, EWU … 7.2
Taelor Karr, GU … 4.4
Krissy Karr, UI … 3.5
Rosetta Adzasu, WSU … 2.9