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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Appleton sees WSU turnaround as senior

Katie Appleton is 43 points short of 1,000.Courtesy photo (Courtesy photo / The Spokesman-Review)
Katie Appleton is 43 points short of 1,000.Courtesy photo (Courtesy photo / The Spokesman-Review)

Take your pick for most famous native of Apple Valley, Calif. – Roy Rogers and Dale Evans or APHS graduate Cuba Gooding Jr., but one day soon Katie Appleton could at least be queen for a day.

The Washington State senior is poised to set the school’s career record for 3-pointers and become the 12th member of the Cougars’ 1,000-point club (she’s 43 points short).

“I had no idea that I was close to that or whatever,” said the 5-foot-8 guard, who needs four 3s for 144 to pass Joanna Smith. “You just don’t think about it over the course of your years. You just play. … It’s exciting. It’s something you can look back on and see you made an impact.”

Appleton left Southern California because she loved the idea of a college town and helping turn around a program.

One dream has been fulfilled, and the other is finally taking shape.

“I loved the team, loved the area,” she said of her first visit. “I like that it’s a college town, it has great support. Everything is based around the college, Washington State sports. It’s really like a family.”

The Cougars won 13 games her first two seasons, just three in the Pac-10, and coach Sherri Murrell resigned. June Daugherty stepped in, but last year, when Appleton was the leading scorer at 12 points per game, WSU won five games, two in league.

“I’ve had a blast over the course of four years,” the kinesiology major said. “In my career we haven’t had as many wins as you’d like to have. I knew that coming into this program that might be the case, but I wanted to be one of those players to be able to say I helped turn this program around. That was one of my goals as a freshman.”

There is reason to believe things will get better. The Cougars (7-7) are relying on freshmen for a good share of their scoring and rebounding.

There have also been some side benefits. Appleton has taken up fly fishing – “it’s a good escape, it keeps me balanced” – and hunting, downing a goose with her first shot.

“I love being outside. Pullman really allows you to do that,” she said.

Appleton has no interest in playing after this year but wants to become a coach.

“I want to hopefully influence lives of kids and give back,” she said.

Big win

Idaho, which is off this week, held league-leading Fresno State to 20 points less than its season average in a 55-52 win on Saturday, with WAC rebounding leader Yinka Olorunnife grabbing 14 boards and scoring 14 points.

“Our players know what they’re capable of and any time you can go into the defending champion’s home and come away with a victory, you know you’ve done something special,” first-year Vandals coach Jon Newlee said.

Tip-ins

Stanford set a Pac-10 record for margin of victory with its 77-point win (112-35) over Washington, while it was the most points the Huskies allowed in history. The previous mark was 76 in a Cardinal win over Long Beach State 15 years ago, but in a league game it was the 58-point win over WSU last season. … The showdown for the league lead, Stanford at Cal, is Sunday at 3 p.m. on FSN. … WSU is sixth in the nation in turnover margin, averaging six fewer than its opponents. … … Louella Tomlinson had 11 rebounds, 11 blocks and eight points in Saint Mary’s 58-55 win at Santa Clara. The sophomore from Australia, the national leader at 6.1 per game, set a D-I record for blocks last season with 156, which broke the Gaels’ career record. (Gonzaga’s career record is 167.) … EWU’s win at Weber State was its first since 1988. … Portland State’s Kasey Kahle became the Big Sky’s all-time free-throw leader. Her 525 freebies surpassed former Idaho State star Natalie Doma.

Local watch

Oregon State freshman Brittany Kennedy (Lewis and Clark) makes her first return visit when the Beavers play at WSU on Thursday. … Emily Kuipers (University) has returned from a knee injury to average a team-high 6.4 rebounds and 9.3 points for Regis (6-7). … In two road wins, Portland State sophomore Kelli Valentine (Mead) scored 34 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. … Weber State junior Tonya Schnibbe (U-Hi) continues to lead the league in assists (6.87, fifth in the country) and steals (2.33). … Arizona State senior Briann January (LC) leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.4), steals (2.7) and assist-turnover ratio (2.2).

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