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Volleyball downs the Ducks, Ducks down women’s basketball, and Gunner Cruz enters the transfer portal

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Busy day for a Friday in late January.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 06 Washington State at USC Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The shifting of some fall sports to the spring means it’s a busier time than normal for our Washington State Cougars. The Cougs made news both on the court and off the field Friday, with the volleyball team kicking off its season with a victory at home against the Oregon Ducks. The upstart women’s basketball team went to Eugene to battle the basketball version of the Ducks and couldn’t hold a three-point halftime lead. Meanwhile, Gunner Cruz announced he’s entering the transfer portal.

Let’s take these bits one by one:

Volleyball downs the Ducks

The volleyball team has been a consistent winner for a number of years now, and the Cougs continued their winning ways by winning in four sets. WSU took sets one, three and four, giving WSU it’s fourth straight win over Oregon. Sophomore Pia Turner had 16 kills in the victory. Julianna Dalton had 13 kills and five blocks, while last year’s national Freshman of the Year Magda Jehlarova pitched in eight kills and four blocks.

WSU entered the season just outside the top 25 and are no. 26 if you’re the type to extend the rankings in order of those also receiving votes (I am). The Pac-12 has four teams in the top 25, with Stanford leading the way at no. 3.

The Cougs and Ducks are at it again in Pullman Sunday morning. A win there for WSU could bump them into the top 25, depending on how some other schools do.

Volleyball Tops Oregon in Season Opener - Washington State University Athletics
Pia Timmer leads the Cougar offensive attack with 16 kills.

Cougar women can’t quite keep up with the Ducks

WSU got out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter and held a 24-21 halftime lead, but a lousy fourth quarter did them in as the Oregon Ducks got win no. 2 against WSU last night in Eugene, 58-50. WSU shot just 25.4% from the field. Yuck.

Charlisse Leger-Walker once again lead the way with 24 points in 28 minutes, including five three-pointers. WSU only made three field goals in the game’s final 10 minutes, which Oregon used to its advantage.

You might recall that WSU played Oregon closely earlier in the season at home. One of these days we’ll catch these Ducks. You’ll also notice that this is WSU’s third loss in a row since being ranked no. 25. WSU will look to get back on the saddle Sunday at Oregon State.

Cougs Drop a 58-50 Decision at No. 13 Oregon - Washington State University Athletics
EUGENE, Ore. – Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker scored a game-high 24 points against No. 13/13-ranked Oregon on Friday, Jan. 22. But her effort wouldn’t be enough

Sedona Prince, No. 13 Oregon women beat Washington St. 58-50 | The Spokesman-Review
Sedona Prince scored 14 points, Taylor Mikesell added 11 — including four free throws in the closing seconds — and No. 13 Oregon beat Washington State 58-50 on Friday night.

Farewell, Gunner Cruz

Two weeks ago, with the news that Tennessee quarterback Jarret Guarantano was transferring to WSU, I asked readers which current WSU quarterback was likely to transfer, if one did decide to do so. Turns our the correct answer was Gunner Cruz, the big quarterback from Arizona.

Cruz was reportedly going to start a game after Jayden de Laura came down with COVID-19. Alas, that game never happened. Cruz appeared in just one game, the beatdown at the hands of the USC Trojans. He completed five of seven passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.

He seemed to be WSU’s no. 2 quarterback, though Cammon Cooper came in relief against the Utah Utes in the season finale. Cruz will have four years of eligibility left, wherever he lands. Best of luck to him, and it’s a shame the Run and Shoot won’t have a quarterback named Gunner at the helm.

Report: Washington State backup quarterback Gunner Cruz enters transfer portal | The Spokesman-Review
Gunner Cruz, who played sparingly for Washington State during the shortened 2020 football season, has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal.

WSU President Kirk Schulz discusses the Pac-12’s commissioner search

I wanted to highlight this on its own since this is what Pac-12 fans will be watching in the coming months. Remember, Schulz is on the Pac-12’s Executive Committee, which is in charge of leading the search for the next commissioner.

Kirk Schulz, WSU president, discusses the decision to part ways with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott - The Ian Furness Show | iHeartRadio
Schulz has some thoughts on the conference and where it needs to go in the future.

More Links

John Blanchette: 'Parting ways' with Larry Scott was the easy part for the Pac-12; the fix is trickier | The Spokesman-Review
Can't say the sun came out shining any brighter Thursday morning, but shades came in handy. The air going into the lungs felt fresher.

From Rwanda to Post Falls and the Pac-12: Bella Murekatete continues to grow at Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Bella Muraketete is still the high-energy post player at Washington State as she was as the often triple-teamed force at little Genesis Prep Academy in Post Falls.