Washington State’s women’s basketball team (15-11, 6-9) will host in-state rival Washington (19-8, 8-7) today at 1 pm in Beasley Coliseum. This will be the second time that these two squads will meet in the last three days — WSU blew out he Huskies in Seattle on Friday — and the Cougars NCAA tournament hopes are on the line.
The Cougars entered this weekend desperately needing to sweep Washington (ranked No. 21 by RPI) to boost its tournament resume. Losses to Oregon (No. 159) and Colorado (No. 127) have really hurt WSU’s resume, and a pair of wins over an overrated Washington squad would do wonders for the team’s tournament hopes (despite an upset win over No. 9 Oregon State, that post is still true). WSU’s blowout win on Friday was good start to the weekend.
Washington State raced off to an early 15-4 lead with insanely accurate shooting and a slow start by the Huskies. The Huskies would end up coming back, and taking the lead, in the first half thanks to the fact that Jazmine Davis took over the offense. Davis only scored six points in the second half because the Cougars did a better job of sealing the lanes and not letting her drive into the lanes; it was one of the big reasons they were able to pull away from Washington late in the second half.
The Cougars are going to have to continue to seal the lanes and not give Davis the ability to drive, if they are going to win on Sunday. Davis can take over a game by drawing contact in the paint, and getting to the foul line. If she is able to do that today, then the Cougars are going to be in trouble.
Another player that WSU is going to have to contain is sophomore guard Kelsey Plum. Plum scored a silent 18 points on Friday, but it wasn’t enough for Washington to pull off the win on Friday. The sophomore is dangerous from beyond the three-point arc — she has hit 39.7% of her three-point shots — and the Cougars are going to have to be really good at guarding her around the arc.
Offensively, the Cougars are going to need someone other than Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira to step up and score. In the game on Friday, WSU had four players score in double digits and that offensive balance was a huge reason that the Cougars were able to pull off the win. The team is going to have to use develop a third (and/or fourth) scoring option for Washington State to pull off the sweep.
Aaron Polevoi and I will be calling the game at 1 pm on KUGR.org.
This game will also be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.