WSU Women’s Basketball; The Season Recap And A Look at The Underclassmen’s Playing Time.

Early on in Conference play I wrote this piece on my blog analyzing how Coach June Daugherty was using the underclassmen at that point in the season. For those of you who are not inclined to go take a look at what I wrote; I concluded that Daugherty had decided that this season was about developing the underclassmen and focusing on the overall future of the program, not winning this season.

This young team had shown its youth throughout the early part of the season, they lost games they probably shouldn’t have lost (at Minnesota, vs. Wisconsin) and won games they probably shouldn’t have won (at Gonzaga, vs. #20 Ohio State). That being said, something changed in the second half of their game in Seattle against UW. The team began to look like a team that was Coached by June and Mike Daugherty.

As a result, the Cougs proceeded to go 5-8 down the stretch in conference play (this includes the Conference tournament); and only two of those games was clearly out of reach from the opening tip (both were vs. Stanford). They produced a four game win streak, secured the programs fourth ever victory in the conference tournament, and ended multi-year losing streaks to the Arizona schools.

It was an impressive season for the Women’s basketball squad and it was driven by their nine underclassmen (three sophomores, and six freshmen):

#

Name

Yr.

PPG

MinPPG

FG%/3PT%/FT%

03

Lia Galdeira

Fr.

14.8

26.7

.357/.268/.769

05

Tia Presley[1]

So.

13.3

28.2

.452/.283/.730

10

Alexas Williamson

Fr.

2.0

11.4

.425/.231/.500

11

Dawnyelle Awa

Fr.

2.6

16.9

.329/.138/.727

12

Taylor Edmondson

Fr.

3.9

14.3

.286/.224/.769

21

Jordan Kelley[2]

So.

23

Shalie Deenshaw

So.

2.7

12.6

.315/.000/.792

30

Whitey Tinjum

Fr.

1.8

2.2

.455/.286/.667

34

Mariah Cooks

Fr.

5.7

12.2

.378/.273/.632

If not for a torn ACL, Tia Presley was probably head for an All-Pac 12 Point Guard. Despite Coach Daugherty’s high level of player rotation, Presley managed to earn nearly 30 minutes a night and put up ridiculous numbers. She and Lia Galdeira are probably two of the most talented players in program history; and both have already established themselves as this team’s leaders going forward.
Tia’s injury forced Freshmen Dawnyelle Awa and Mariah Cooks into more prominent roles than they had earlier in the season; by January 18th, Cooks had averaged 9.1 minutes per game with 4.3 points per game and Awa had averaged 10.1 minutes per game with 0.8 points per game. Those two players provided depth for this program that has not been there in over a decade.
Awa and Cooks not only took up Presley’s minutes, they also produced. The fact that there wasn’t a significant drop in on the floor production (after Presley’s injury) is one of the reasons the team was able to take advantage of the Beavers, Wildcats, Sun Devils, and Trojans on their four game winning streak.
In other words, it seems like the Daugherty’s are at the helm of one of the deepest teams in program history. These next couple of seasons are going to be able to determine whether or not they are the ones who are going to get this program to its second NCAA Tournament appearance ever.

[1] Tia Presley tore her ACL during the home Oregon State game on January 27th.

[2] Jordan Kelley is on the official roster, just not the stat sheet.

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