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Washington State women’s basketball tips season off Friday

The Cougs could end their NCAA tournament drought in 2017-18

womens basketball Pinelopi Pavopoulou
WSU women’s basketball player Pinelopi Pavopoulou
Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

While the football team looks to stay in contention for a conference title this weekend, basketball season is officially upon us. The WSU women’s basketball team will open the 2017-18 season Friday, as they look to build on last year’s success

After making the semifinals of the WNIT in 2017, the Cougs are primed to make a run at a NCAA tournament birth. WSU’s only appearance in program history came in 1991, but this team has more potential than any in recent memory.

Last year’s postseason success came with three of the team’s best players, Borislava Hristova (14.7 points per game), Chanelle Molina (12.8 ppg), and Louise Brown (10.4 ppg), out with injuries. Luckily, they’re all back this year and ready to contribute.

There was only one senior on last year’s team, Ivana Kmetovska, and the rest of the roster is back. They finished 16-22 in 2016-17 and placed 7th in the Pac-12 before advancing to the postseason.

While they struggled at times in conference play, WSU started 3-3 against Pac-12 opponents with a win over no. 7 UCLA. Molina played a big role in the early success, including a career high 33 points against the Bruins, before getting injured. A former five-star recruit, Molina has the potential to rewrite records during her time on the Palouse.

The first test of the 2017 season will come against a familiar opponent, UC Davis. The Cougs hosted Aggies in the third round of the WNIT and WSU prevailed 71-62. Alexys Swedlund, who picked up a lot of scoring slack in wake of injuries, led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals.

In the rematch, WSU will travel to Davis Friday, and tip off at 7 p.m. The Cougs will play three more road games before their home opener on Sunday, November 19, against Kentucky.

The men’s team also starts their season this weekend, and Jeff wrote more about them over here.



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