WSU Women’s Basketball; The Underclassmen Play, And Play A Lot.

When June Daugherty took over the women’s program at WSU, she inherited a mess. There was a lack of eligible players, the players who could play weren’t very good, and the lack of depth would rear its ugly head as the team was well on its way to a 5-25 season.  But there was hope, as Daugherty brought in a seven person recruiting class that was ranked as the 16th best in the Country (you can do that in Pullman?). Unfortunately, that class did not result in wins and post season tournament berths; injuries deserve a major portion of the blame.

That being said, the class still had a major impact on the WSU program. As a result of Jasmine Perkins (Graduated), April Cook (Graduated), Katie Grad (RS Sr.), and Ireti Amojo (RS Sr.) the women’s program approached mediocrity. As ridiculous is this probably sounds, mediocrity is a huge step forward for this program; after all, it is something for Coach Daugherty to build on. And that allowed June Daugherty to make this season’s youth movement possible.

There are three seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, and six true freshmen on this year’s squad. Back when I did my preview for this season, I said that it appeared Coach Daugherty went out and recruited this class for depth, was I ever wrong. In reality, this freshmen class has seen a huge chunk of playing time. Basically what’s ended up happening is that the upperclassmen are the players on the roster for depth, while the underclassmen are seeing a bunch of playing time. In fact let’s take a look at how the nine underclass men are getting used (stats used are from WSU);

#

Name

Year

PPG

MinPG

FG%/3Pt%/FT%

03

Lia Galderia

Fr.

13.8

24.9

.339/.260/.837

05

Tia Presley

So.

13.0

28.5

.448/.273/.727

10

Alexa Williamson

Fr.

0.0

4.5

.000/.000/.000

11

Dawnyelle Awa

Fr.

0.8

10.9

.167/.000/.583

12

Taylor Edmonson

Fr.

4.1

12.5

.349/.364/.813

21

Jordan Kelley

So.

n/a

n/a

n/a

23

Shalie Deenshaw

So.

2.1

10.5

.281/.000/.688

30

Whitney Tinjum

Fr.

0.6

2.8

.250/.333/.000

34

Mariah Cooks

Fr.

4.3

9.1

.424/.222/.548

Before I move on, Jordan Kelley is on the official roster but is nowhere to be seen in the official statistics.

Anyways, it is important to note that Presley and Galderia are the top two scorers on the squad this season.  Another thing that is important to not, Daugherty likes a high rate of personnel rotation; this season is no different. So what does the above chart mean? It means that a freshmen and a sophomore are taking a good chunk off of the playing time, while the other underclassmen rotate and get some good experience.

This year’s squad has shown the inconsistencies that come with the underclassmen playing a lot. They beat (at the time) #20 Ohio State at home, went into the Kennel and shocked the Zags, lost to Wisconsin in Pullman (they beat the Badgers in Wisconsin last season), up-ended BYU, and had two overtime losses early on in the Best Buy Classic.  It’s going to be interesting to see how the squad pans out, and if Coach Daugherty can replicate her previous success out here in Pullman.

 

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