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It’s Tourney Time for the Cougs!

The long-awaited day has arrived

Jack Ellis

Good morning. First thing’s first. Let’s have a good ol’ hype video to get the blood pumping.

Wooooooo!

Now that we’re ready to suit up ourselves, let’s link to what is almost certainly the most thorough game preview of 8 vs. 9 seeds you will read this season. Yes, I know said preview is right next to this story on the main page, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give it an assist.

That’s the local angle, so let’s look at the national angle. The first thing that always interests me in sporting contests is the point spread. I must be even worse at internetting than I previously thought, because I could not locate a site that publishes point spreads on women’s tournament games except Bovada, and I ain’t creating another account. Alas.

So what does the national media think of our Washington State Cougars? Charlie Creme probably counts as national media, and he does not think too highly of the squad led by Mary Camille Ethridge. Creme ranked all tournament participants 1-64, and threw out the best-and-worst case scenarios for each. Creme ranks WSU 40th among the 64, second-lowest among Power Five teams (Wake Forest is 41st). Here is what he envisions as far as scenarios:

Best case: The Cougars have had a flair for the dramatic in wins over UCLA and Arizona. At one point this season, they played four overtime games in two weeks. Pac-12 freshman of the year Charlisse Leger-Walker is the catalyst for all that excitement, and she hits a 25-footer at the buzzer to give the Cougars their first NCAA tournament win.

Worst case: As good as Leger-Walker is, it took her 17 shots per game to get her nearly 19 PPG with just a 35.9 field goal percentage. That inefficiency catches up with the Cougars, who fall short in another tight game in the opening round.

If you ask me (you didn’t), I’d posit that the Cougars have already achieved the best case scenario. After having been predicted to finish last in the Pac-12, all the Cougs did was qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three decades, and beat several ranked teams behind one of the best freshman performances in school history. But still, a win in the big dance would make things all the sweeter. Go Cougs.

Basketball

In building where her No. 33 is retired, Washington State's Kamie Ethridge leads Cougars into NCAA Tournament | The Spokesman-Review
In games without Molina, the Cougars have gone just 3-5, and they managed just 44 points on a slow shooting night for Leger-Walker in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Cougs are Ready to Dance for the First Time in 30 Years on Sunday vs. South Florida - Washington State University Athletics
Sunday's contest will mark the second time that Washington State and South Florida have met on the hardwood. The last time the two teams played one another came on Nov. 24, 2017 at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Ft. Meyers, Florida. USF claimed the 82-45 victory.

A closer look at Washington State, which faces the USF women Sunday
Picked last in the Pac-12 preseason polls, the Cougars earned their first NCAA tourney bid in 30 seasons, recording the second-most league wins (nine) in school history.

This Week in Parenting and Pet-owning

I’m not saying Mrs. Kendall has sent me more cat pics and videos than she took when our boys were new arrivals to the house, but I’m not not saying it either. Somehow she saw one internet theory that said cats are afraid of strawberries. I’ll spare you, but the video of little Comino dancing around the strawberry on the floor supports the theory.

Mrs. Kendall also celebrated a birthday this week, and the boys were all over it.*

*this is a total lie

Notice the time stamps on this exchange.

So to recap, one kid took multiple days to acknowledge the message, and then immediately got back to what was really important, asking to download a video game. The younger kid just ignored me completely. So when the day arrived, they gave Mrs. Kendall a hastily-made card and said, “sorry but we didn’t have time to make you a decoration like we did for Valentine’s Day.” Yes, if only they’d been given some sort of advance notice.

Book Club

The slog is over, as I finally put the Baltic Sea history book to bed. Next up is Jerry Seinfeld’s Is This Anything? It’s probably as close as we’ll ever get to Jerry writing an autobiography, but it’s mostly a compilation of all his material. And when I write “all,” I mean it. He kept everything. Definitely gonna be a quick and laugh-filled read. The best bits so far revolve around the thermostat and Cub Scouts.

Non-Sports

An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed | WIRED
On March 11, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic seemed to crystallize in the national consciousness. Americans look back on the turning point.

In building where her No. 33 is retired, Washington State's Kamie Ethridge leads Cougars into NCAA Tournament | The Spokesman-Review
In games without Molina, the Cougars have gone just 3-5, and they managed just 44 points on a slow shooting night for Leger-Walker in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament.