In the Pac-12 tournament last season the Washington State Women’s Basketball team made Pac-12 history by becoming the first eleven- seed to ever reach the semifinals in the women’s tournament’s ten year history. The tournament was really the first chance in months to see what the Lady Cougars were really capable of doing as they had suffered numerous injuries throughout the non-conference portion of the schedule (ranked the 27th most difficult schedule in the country) and, for the most part, they were healthy come tournament time. While the tournament run was epic it only showed what could have been had the squad either remained healthy or had more depth.
The Cougs are entering their six season on June Daugherty (45-109 at WSU, 358-323 overall) and they look to be just as talented, and deeper, than last year’s squad. Coach Daugherty brought in her highest ranked recruiting class in her tenure at WSU (possibly one of the highest ranked classes in program history). This class will be huge because it adds some much needed talent and depth that should be able to help the team avoid a fait similar to last seasons. And it will be essential for several members of this freshmen class are going to have to contribute right away to and several returning players are going to have to step-it up this season as well.
Freshmen Most Likely to Make an Impact:
Emalia Galderia: While playing at Konawaena High School, the 5’ 8” point guard developed a reputation as a scorer. And for the 2012-2013 Lady Cougars scoring will be placed on a premium as three of the top scorers from the 2011-2012 season graduated; Jazmin Perkins, April Cook, and Rosetta Azasu. Emalia should see plenty of playing time early on in the season as Coach Daugherty tries to find out what she has this season.
Whitney Tinjum: This 6-1 power-forward adds some much needed size to the Cougars. She has a reputation for being a smart offensive player and could become a huge piece and a big body to get in the paint and get rebounds; which was one of the Cougs weak spots last season as they had a rebound rate average (rebounds by opponents and rebounds by your team) of -2.8.
Returning Players to Keep an Eye on:
Carly Noyes, SR: She was one of the team’s defensive stalwarts last season as she had 26 blocks last season on her way to earning an honorable mention for All-Pac-12 honors. Her defensive prowess is a good thing for a squad to have and as we all know defense wins championships. That being said she needs to improve her offensive output if she is going to have a major impact in her senior year (.480 FG%/.000 3PT%/.387 FT% last season).
Sage Romberg, JR: Romberg is one of those sneaky players whose stat line won’t blow you away (.349/.330/.387) but she came up big in several clutch moments last season. Look for an overall improvement this year as she should become one of Coach Daugherty’s most consistent players.
November 18th vs. Wisconsin: Last year the Cougs waltzed into Madison and dominated the Badgers. This year the Badger will be coming to Pullman looking for revenge.
December 29th at Gonzaga: A good old fashion rivalry game against a team that is usually in the Top-25, what’s not to like?
January 15th at Washington: Another rivalry game, this time against another team that is currently rebuilding. The Cougs will play the Dawgs twice in a row; can they get their first win in this series since 1995?
January 20th vs. Washington: The second game of the season, and in a row, against the Dawgs. How the first game goes will definitely impact this one at Friel Court.
February 28th vs. California: The Cougs take on one of the traditional Pac-12 Powers at home. Can they upset the apple cart?
March 2nd vs. Stanford: The Cards are almost always in the top-five by this point in the season. Can the Cougs shock the women’s basketball world and earn their first ever win against the Cardinal?