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The Roundup: WSU women’s basketball off to a strong start

Plus, volleyball picks up two much-needed wins.

Borislava Hristova
WSU Athletic Communications

It was a successful weekend all around for Washington State athletics, as no Cougar program lost an event. On the the non-revenue front, the women’s basketball team started their season on the right foot, and the volleyball broke their losing streak.

Cougar women’s basketball crushed a pair of WCC teams last week at home. They opened their season Friday, against Loyola Marymount with a 92-45 win over the Lions. On Sunday the Cougs kept up the scoring, and beat St Mary’s 85-69.

WSU wasn’t lights out shooting the ball in either game, but used other advantages to build big leads. Against LMU, the Cougs were about as dominant defensively as coach June Daugherty could ask for. They held the Lions to 24 percent shooting from the field, and finished with a 64-36 advantage in rebounds.

WSU smothered their opposition, and forced turnovers at a blistering rate. LMU turned the ball over 25 times and the Gaels coughed up possession 24 times. Over the two games the Cougs outscored their opponents 62-16 off turnovers.

It looks like Borislava Hristova will lead WSU’s offensive attack again in 2016-17. The sophomore forward averaged a team high 16.3 points per game last season could improve on that figure. In the first two games, she’s averaged 18.3 points, in just 22 minutes of action per contest.

The Cougs host two more games at home this weekend, against San Francisco and Oklahoma St. The Cougs will play the Dons Friday at 7 p.m. and the Cowboys Sunday at noon. The showdown with OSU can be watched on the Pac-12 Network.

The volleyball team got two much needed win over the weekend against Arizona St and no. 25 Arizona. The Cougs were able to break their four game losing streak, and coach Jen Greeny picked up her 200th career win as a head coach. The Cougs moved to 19-7 on the season, and have a 9-7 record against conference opponents. The program has won 19 games for the first time since 2002, and they now reside in sixth place in the Pac-12 standings.

Middle blocker Taylor Mims picked more accolades, as she was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the week. She has 19 blocks in the two games, and is among the nations leaders in that category. Mims also leads the Cougs with a .319 hitting percentage.

This week the Cougs will travel to play no. 16 Utah and Colorado. You can watch the Cougs and Utes square off Thursday at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks. WSU and CU will tip off from Boulder at 11 a.m. Sunday, a game that will be broadcast online.

The men’s cross country will continue its successful season Saturday at the NCAA Championships. The Cougs received and at-large bid to the event after a strong showing at the Pac-12 Championships and the NCAA West Regional.

At the West Regional the 18th ranked Cougars finished fifth behind four ranked teams. Finishing first for WSU were Michael Williams and John Whelan who came in 17th and 18th overall. The NCAA Championships will provide Whelan, a senior, with one last opportunity to race for WSU.

This is the second straight season that the Cougs have earned an at-large bid, and last year they finished 26th out of 31 teams. Six of the the seven runners for WSU in 2015 return to the race again this season. The race will start at 9 a.m. from the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute Indiana.