When it took about five minutes for the Cougars to turn a nine point lead into a 15 point deficit against USC Thursday, many thought they had hit rock bottom. For the first time in the Bone era, it could be reasonably theorized that the team had quit on its coach. It was against this backdrop that WSU entered Saturday night's home finale against UCLA, a night which began by honoring outgoing seniors D.J. Shelton and Will Dilorio.
I'll admit, when I turned the game on, I expected to see UCLA running up and down the floor, Kyle Anderson scoring at will, and WSU doing what WSU does on offense, stand around and hope Lacy can create a shot or hit a three. Our colleagues at Bruins Nation even said this would be a UCLA cakewalk. That wasn't the case, however. Suddenly, Ike Iroegbu was slashing to the basket and dishing to Shelton for a dunk. Kernich-Drew was hitting a three. Ike was hitting a three. Que was hitting a three. Royce Woolridge was scoring on a prayer as the shot clock expired. When Zach Lavine was about to spot up for a wide open jumper, but pulled a Dave Krieg instead, I thought it may just be our night.
As the buzzer sounded with WSU's desperation three narrowly missing, the crowd cheered on the Cougs as they ran to the locker room. Uplifted by the rally at the end of the half, and the possibility that we could maybe, just maybe, salvage some pride from this lost season by beating UCLA at home again, I promptly...went to bed. I know, I know, there's no excuse for it, but here are my excuses anyway. It was already 11 p.m. at my house, and I was staring down the barrel of losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time. Additionally, my youngest hasn't slept through the night since Tuesday due to a hellacious cough, meaning mom and dad have slept even less. Mostly, though, I turned off the TV because we'd seen this act many times this year. The Cougs come out and play reasonably well in the first half, maybe even leading at halftime. The second half is almost always a different story, and they end up losing by double digits.
Much to my elation, and to the chagrin of UCLA, that didn't happen this time. WSU kept its foot on the gas, and put the Bruins away. The Cougs won despite the fact that DaVonte Lacy had one of his worst statistical games of the season, going just 1-10 from the field. On this night, two freshmen, Ike Iroegbu and Que Johnson took center stage. Who knows? Maybe this portends good things for the future.
An upset special - Spokesman.com - March 9, 2014
PULLMAN – It was a pair of freshmen that sent Washington State’s seniors off in style Saturday night. In the final game of the regular season the Cougars upended the conference’s second-best team, playing their best game of the season and beating UCLA 73-55. Not even a halftime dunk contest by members of the WSU football team could pull focus from the struggling basketball team on Saturday night, which gave D.J. Shelton and Will DiIorio a Senior Night to remember in their final game at Beasley Coliseum.
WSU players after Senior Night win - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - March 8, 2014
Here's some postgame video of the WSU players. What, they couldn't fit a fifth guy behind that table?
UCLA upset by Washington State in regular-season finale, 73-55 - latimes.com
Washington State shot 37% … and won. The Cougars shot 66% from the free throw line … and won. DaVonte Lacy, who averages a team-high 19 points, had nine points … and the Cougars won.
The news wasn't as good for the WSU women last night. After two straight nights of high-scoring, uptempo games, they fell victim to cold shooting, and lost Oregon State. With USC's upset of Stanford, it was setting up well for the Cougs to earn the conference's automatic bid into the Big Dance, but they couldn't pull it off. Despite that, it has been a great season for the WSU women's team, who will now likely get their first taste of postseason play in the WNIT.
WSU women cool off in semis - Spokesman.com - March 9, 2014
SEATTLE – The Washington State women’s basketball team could almost hear the music of the Big Dance, but a night of flat shooting doomed its run with a 70-60 loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on Saturday. The all-conference scoring tandem of Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley lost their touch in the first half as the Beavers (23-9) raced to a lead that the Cougars (17-16) were never able to overcome.
WSU women’s basketball comes up empty in Pac-12 semifinals | Cougars | The Seattle Times
Washington State trailed 33-20 in the opening half, shooting 8 of 30 from the field. A stark turnaround from the 198 points the Cougars totaled in wins against Oregon and Cal to advance to the semifinal game.
I've heard that there were some pretty good stories told at Friday's Night With Cougar Football on the West Side. Hopefully a good time was had by all.
Pac-12 spring position breakdowns: Safety - ESPN
Washington State: Replacing Deone Bucannon means replacing one of the school's all-time greats at his position. Isaac Dotson looks like the favorite to take that spot, but will be pushed by David Bucannon, Darius Lemora and true freshman Markell Sanders, who arrived for spring practice.
Scout.com: Spring 2014 - Pac-12 North Analysis
At long last, optimism in Pullman at the beginning of a season. In just his second year at Wazzu, head coach Mike Leach led the program to six regular season wins.
Pac-12 football: Spring practice preview | College Hotline
A few days old, but I enjoy reading Wilner's pieces, and you should too!
Cougars Split Double Dip - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The Cougar Baseball team won its first series of the season this weekend, taking two of three from Texas State. WSU took the first game Saturday, 4-3, and carried a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning of the nightcap. They couldn't hang on, losing 5-3.