When UCLA’s final, meaningless, 3-point heave clanked off the iron in the final seconds before the clock finally expired, the Washington State Cougars accomplished something heretofore thought to be impossible: winning a Pac-12 championship in women’s basketball.
Winning a conference title in any sport is rare enough — WSU hadn’t done it since 2002 when the football team went to the Rose Bowl — but for women’s basketball to do it is absolutely mind blowing.
These Cougs have a knack for blowing everyone’s minds, though. First, it was simply making the tournament again, which they did for the second time in program history in 2021. Then, it was making back-to-back appearances last year (obviously a first). Now ... a Pac-12 championship, a third straight NCAA tournament appearance, and surely the highest seed yet.
It’s really difficult to put into context what coach Kamie Ethridge has done. We’re talking about a program that once won just four games over two seasons, losing an almost-impossible-to-believe 53 games in that span. From 2001-2008, WSU was 34-166 — a .170 winning percentage.
When June Daugherty simply made the program respectable and competitive, we considered her a miracle worker. And she only had one winning campaign in 11 seasons!
What does that say about Ethridge?
Given all that context, we think there’s a case to be made that she’s now the best WSU coach — in any sport — ever, something we discussed for a while ... once we got through all the celebrating and analysis of how the Cougs pulled this off, of course.
We use naughty words from time to time. You’ve been warned!
We also took a bunch of time to celebrate the men’s team’s season sweep of Washington and subsequent securing of the No. 5 seed in their Pac-12 tournament. How did the Cougs dismantle the Huskies and could it lead to a run that’s similar to the women?
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Music by Randy England — you can learn more about his work on Instagram!