Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cougs Enter Pac-10 Play

Unless you've been under a rock for the past month or so, you've taken notice to the Cougs' 10-2 start to the basketball season.

Led by super sophomore Klay Thompson (third in the country with 25.0 ppg), the Cougs are proving those wrong who picked the young team to finish eighth in the Pac-10.

Who would've thought that Reggie Moore would be as great as he has been so far. Or that DeAngelo Casto would continue to develop his offensive game to match his tenacity on defense.

Now I'd be lying if I told you I had an inkling the Cougs would have the record they have so far heading into conference play, but I'm not lying when I tell you the Cougs actually have a shot to win their first Pac-10 title since the 1940-41 season. At least one guy at ESPN feels the same way.

Some may point to the Pac-10 being weaker than it has been in the past few years, but others will point to how well the Cougs have taken to new coach Ken Bone's up-tempo offense. The Cougs are averaging 80.2 ppg, while only giving up 68.4 ppg. They lead the conference in free throw percentage(73.4), field goal percentage(49.8) and shooting from three point land (42.3).

From the games that I've seen, the biggest bug-a-boo for me was how the Cougs seemed to be a terrible rebounding team. Upon further review it actually hasn't been that bad. Wazzu ranks fifth in the Pac in rebounding margin with a +5.6.

The Cougs showed they could hang with a ranked team (Gonzaga) for 30 plus minutes in a hostile environment. What remains to be seen is how these youngsters respond to having to travel to Hec Ed Pavillion, or face the likes of players like Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher. The upgrade in competition is another thing to consider. Playing San Diego and Alaska-Anchorage is one thing, but facing Pac-10 favorites Washington and Cal is another.

It's obvious the Pac-10 is down this year, but if Washington State can continue to play at the same level it's played at during its out-of-conference schedule, Coug fans can prepare for the school's third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last four years.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Intramural Flag Football Begins Playoffs

Undefeated Cougs Head to Spokane

The 6-0 Cougars travel to McCarthey Athletic Center tonight to face a red-hot Gonzaga team.

The Cougs' undefeated record has been belittled by some who claim that Washington State has yet to face a serious opponent. After tonight, the critics will either shut up or say, "I told you so," as the Cougs take on the No. 17 Bulldogs at Gonzaga.

The Zags (5-1) suffered their only loss this season at Michigan State against the then No. 2 Spartans, and that game came down to only 4 points. Although the Zags lost three of their best players last season (Josh Heytvelt, Jeremy Pargo, and Austin Daye), the Bulldogs have proven that they are still a Top 25 team.

The Zags average 77.3 points per game, giving up 66 points. Senior guard Matt Bouldin is leading the team with 16.2 points with six rebounds per game. Steven Gray and Robert Sacre are right behind him with 15.8 and 14.3 points respectively.

The Cougs, on the other hand, are not the "Bennett Ball" team that they were last year. So far this season, the Cougars average 84.7 points per game, giving up only 65 points. Sophomore guard Klay Thompson is leading the nation in scoring with 28.3 points per game. However, true freshman Reggie Moore has certainly been doing his part with 13.5 points, and sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto is as solid as ever with 12.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

After the Cougs ran over San Diego 93-56 to win the Great Alaska Shootout, they received a few votes for a top 25 ranking. A win against Gonzaga would definitely earn them a spot. However, their challenge to stay undefeated will not end in Spokane, as the Cougs' next three opponents hold a combined 15-3 record.

The game tonight starts at 6 p.m. and will be televised on FSN.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Cougar Teams Are Quite Thankful

The men's basketball team went 3-0 in Alaska during Thanksgiving Break to win the 2009 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Sophomore Klay Thompson was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and scored 43 points in the championship game.

The women's volleyball team received an at-large bid to the 2009 NCAA Championship Volleyball Tournament. The Cougs (18-12, 6-12 Pac-10) will face Northern Iowa (30-2) Friday Dec. 4 in Lincoln, Nebraska. This marks the first time the Cougs have competed in the NCAAs since 2002, when they reached the Elite Eight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preseason Tournaments Galore

It’s that time of the year again. College basketball teams all around the country are trying to get that postseason feel. From New York to Maui, the Virgin Islands to Alaska, champions are being crowned at preseason tournaments. Washington State tries its hand at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout starting at 8:30 p.m. (Pacific) Wednesday against host Alaska Anchorage. That game will be available on FSN Northwest and Fox College Sports.

It is the Cougars’ first appearance at the Shootout since 1981. That season the Cougars opened the season with a win at the tournament against Alaska Anchorage, before dropping the next two games. Like this season, that squad’s trip to Alaska was followed by a Dec. 2 game in Spokane against Gonzaga.

Before the much-anticipated matchup, WSU will try its hand at a field of less familiar opponents. The Cougars are 3-0 all-time against Alaska Anchorage, and Friday will be the first meeting between WSU and Nicholls State. That game will tip off at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will also be featured on FSN Northwest and Fox College Sports.

WSU’s third opponent will be determined based on the outcomes of the first two games. Depending on their place in Pool A, Saturday the Cougars will take on the corresponding finisher in Pool B. WSU is a combined 1-3 against the three teams in Pool B, and has never met pool-favorite No. 17 Oklahoma.

The Cougars’ first games away from Pullman will offer a good way for the team to gauge its early season success. One player head coach Ken Bone is hoping the arctic won’t cool down is sophomore guard Klay Thompson. Fresh off his career-high 37 points in the last outing against IPFW, Thompson earned his first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor. Averaging 27 points a game during the first three games, the Ladera Ranch, Calif. native is fourth in the nation in scoring.

While WSU is getting its preseason tournament underway in the 49th state, Gonzaga is trying to wrap up a tournament title in the 50th. At the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Bulldogs came from behind Monday to beat Colorado 76-72, then knocked off Wisconsin Tuesday in impressive fashion 74-61. Gonzaga will meet up with Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the championship game. The Bearcats reached the title game after upsetting No. 22 Maryland 69-57 Tuesday in the first semifinal.

Elsewhere in the Pacific-10 Conference, a number of young and inexperienced teams are trying to find their identities at tournaments across the continent. Arizona is also participating in the Maui Invitational. After a gritty loss to Wisconsin Monday, the Wildcats pulled out an overtime win against Colorado Tuesday behind 30 points from Nic Wise. They will try for fifth place at 2 p.m. Wednesday against No. 24 Vanderbilt.

Arizona State travels to the Big Apple for the final four of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off. After winning two home games earlier this month to advance to Madison Square Garden, the Sun Devils earned a date with No. 7 Duke at 6 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN2. LSU and No. 13 Connecticut are in the other semifinal.

Stanford is getting more than just a warm holiday in Cancun, Mexico. Something Cougar fans became all too familiar with during the past three seasons, Landry Fields gave Tony Bennett all he could handle Tuesday as the Cardinal knocked off Virginia 57-52. Fields’ 25-point, 13-rebound performance powered Stanford into the final of the Cancun Challenge against No. 5 Kentucky. Fields and the rest of the Cardinal will try to take down John Wall and Patrick Patterson at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a game that can be seen on CBS College Sports.

UCLA gets to play a little closer to home as a strong field convenes on Anaheim, Calif. for the 76 Classic. The Bruins open the tournament at 10:30 p.m. Thursday against Portland. The three-day tournament features four ranked teams (No. 9 West Virginia, No. 10 Butler, No. 18 Minnesota, and No. 24 Clemson).

Oregon is hosting its own local mid-major invitational of sorts, and right now is losing. The Ducks take on Montana State Saturday, after already suffering losses to Portland and Montana.

The next Cougar home game is Dec. 9 against a very formidable Idaho team.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cougar Basketball Moves to 2-0

Although the Cougs had to work to hold the lead last night against Eastern Washington University, they ended the game with a 67-61 win that advanced them to 2-0 in the regular season.

The 94-66 win against Mississippi Valley State on Friday earned Ken Bone his first regular season victory as head coach of the Cougars, and marked the beginning of a new era with a much different feel than "Bennett Ball."

Sophomore Klay Thompson led the Cougs in scoring in both games with 24 points against the Eagles and 20 against Mississippi Valley State. Thompson struggled early against Eastern Washington, missing his first six shots, but he pulled it together as the game progressed.

Sophomore DeAngelo Casto finished the game with 16 points against the Eagles, just two points shy of his career-high (18 points) that he put up against Mississippi Valley State on Friday. True freshman Reggie Moore ended the game against Eastern Washington with 15 points.

Despite the Cougs' record, there are certainly areas for improvement. The Cougs gave up the ball 19 times against the Delta Devils on Friday, and were 21-for-50 shooting against the Eagles on Monday. Another sour spot was Thompson's free-throw shooting against Eastern Washington. He missed five of his 14 foul shots -- he only missed three total last year.

The Cougs may be 2-0, but with a close call against the Eagles, hopefully the Cougars received a wake-up call and will continue to keep the Bone era undefeated.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Soccer Headed to NCAAs

The women's soccer team (13-5-2), with an at-large berth, will make its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance Friday at 5 p.m. versus the Villanova Wildcats on the University of Maryland campus.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arizona Runs Over the Cougs

After Travis Cobb returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown for the Wildcats, many WSU fans couldn't help but be reminded of last year's horrendous season. When Arizona went on to score 24 points in the first quarter alone, Coug fans may have sighed a familiar sigh.

When Jeff Tuel left the game with a knee injury, Wazzu fans probably shed a tear or two, fearing that any chance WSU had at a Pac-10 victory was lost.

This game, like almost every other game in the last two seasons, was out of reach after the first quarter. The Cougs have been outscored 136-3 in the first quarter this season, and they've failed to put up any kind of fight until the second half after it's too late. Arizona had such a comfortable lead in the first half that they put in backup quarterback Matt Scott in the second quarter. Scott rushed for 91 yards, averaging 9.1 yards per carry, while WSU as a team only managed 185 yards.

The only bright spot among many dark ones was Jared Karstetter's one-handed catch for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that prevented the Cougs from being shut out. The final score was 48-7, pushing Arizona to within half a game of first place in the conference.

Many fans believe UCLA and UW to be the only chances the Cougs have at a conference victory this season, but with Tuel questionable, and many others injured, WSU may end the season worse than last year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

Even though the football team lost to Cal 49-17, QB Jeff Tuel had a career day completing 28 of 42 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. The team is beginning to show signs of improvement and with 19 players this season making their first career start, including 10 true freshman, the Cougars are giving fans lots to look forward to in the future.

The soccer team split games against the Bay Area schools, losing 2-1 to top ranked Stanford on Friday, but coming away with a 2-1 overtime victory against 23rd ranked Cal on Sunday.

Not to be outdone, the volleyball team defeated 4th ranked Washington in the Apple Cup of volleyball in four sets. Coach Andrew Palileo's squad handed the Dawgs their second loss of the year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big Friday in Pullman

On Friday, a pair of Washington State women's teams welcome national powers to Pullman. The Cougar soccer team hosts unbeaten and unanimous No. 1 Stanford at 3 p.m. at Lower Soccer Field. And after the soccer match comes the night's marquee event with the No. 4 Washington Huskies visiting Bohler Gym for a volleyball showdown. The Huskies, 7-1 in conference, are Pac-10 leaders, but the Cougars, 15-4 overall, are enjoying a breakout season.

The volleyball match, which starts at 7 p.m., will be part of the Pac-10 Conference Breast Cancer Awareness month. During the match, players, coaches, and even Butch, the mascot, will wear pink. Fans who wear pink will receive $2 admission.

Be sure to check back with Wazzu Sports for a recap of all of this weekend's Cougar action, including the football team's trip to Berkeley.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Basketball is Almost Here!

The basketball season unofficially kicks off this Friday with Midnight Mayhem, begining right after the conclusion of the women's 7 p.m. volleyball match against USC in Bohler Gym. Festivities will include a dunk contest, a scrimmage of the men's and women's teams, and a three-point shooting contest. It all starts around 9:30 p.m. in Bohler Gym.

Speaking of basketball, here's a great article by Howie Stalwick on WSU's transition from slow-paced Bennett Ball to new coach Ken Bone's up-tempo style.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Injury Bug Wipes Out Football Team

Halfway through the football season, I feel unsatisfied, much like the feeling I get after visiting Pita Pit... still hungry. I want more out of WSU football, but the injury bug has decimated this football team.

Kevin Kooymen-Knee (pictured right)
Tyson Pencer-Ankle
Brian Danaher-Concussion
Steven Ayers-Ankle
BJ Guerra-MCL sprain
Daniel Simmons-Broken Leg
Zach Williams-Ankle
James Montgomery-Leg

All of these players were starters, and while the swine flu was a major concern at the beginning of the season, it appears the injury bug should have been our first concern.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ESPN Recognizes WSU Volleyball

Off to its best start since 1997, the 14-1 Washington State University volleyball team has the rest of the country taking note. The Cougars are featured on the front page of the college sports section of, and ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since the 2003 preseason poll. Much of the praise belongs to the team's four seniors. ESPN's Dave Reed gives them the credit they deserve in this feature article.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cougs Snag Speedster

On Wednesday, Cougfan reported Robert Jiles, a wide receiver with a sub 4.5 second 40-yard dash time, had committed to the Cougars.
Jiles finished his junior year with 29 receptions for nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tuel to Start?

There are reports freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel, who made his collegiate debut last week against USC, may start this weekend against Oregon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Does Everybody Know What Time it is?

TUEL TIME! That's right, true freshman Jeff Tuel made his collegiate debut Saturday against USC, and despite a 27-6 loss, the Cougars have a lot to be proud about.

USC was a 45.5 point favorite going into Saturday's game, and with the way the first quarter went it looked like the Cougars were going to see a repeat of last year's dismantling. After taking a quick 13-0 lead, the Trojans attempted an, in my opinion, unsportsmanlike onside kick and recovered the ball. They scored again and advanced their lead to 20-0.

However, in the remaining 48 minutes of the game, the Cougars held USC to just seven more points, thanks in large to two goal line stops by the Cougar defense on fourth down.

True freshman Jeff Tuel relieved redshirt sophomore Marshall Lobbestael at quarterback halfway into the second quarter. Lobbestael was 2-of-9 for only 14 yards, while Tuel stole the show (and our hearts) finishing 14-of-22 for 130 yards. Those numbers are good for a freshman in his first game, but against USC? Those numbers are spectacular. Tuel continuously moved the ball down the field, and the three-and-outs that Coug fans have grown used to were replaced by first down after first down. He's got a cannon of an arm, quick feet, and great judgment. Tuel will be the difference this season, and I can't wait to see him and the Cougars take on Locker and the Huskies in the Apple Cup.

That said, the Cougs made a few big mistakes, including a missed field goal, a missed PAT, an interception in the end zone, and a fumble that ended in a touchdown for USC. If those were successful scores and you take away that fumble, the score would be 20-17 which may have given the Cougars enough momentum to upset the Trojans. But that's just wishful thinking.

In other news, Stanford sent the Huskies crashing back to Earth on Saturday in a 34-14 victory. Washington, who beat an injured USC last week, is now 2-2 (1-1 Pac-10).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Injured Cougs Face an Angry USC

The Cougs, coming off a win against Southern Methodist University last week, will play the No. 12 USC Trojans tomorrow in Los Angeles.
After a devastating 16-13 loss against an unranked University of Washington last Saturday, USC is not likely to show any mercy against the 1-2 Cougars. The Trojans were without freshman quarterback Matt Barkley and senior safety Taylor Mays in the game against UW, which ultimately lead to their defeat.

The Cougs do not have luck on their side, as they have been hampered by injuries all season. Starting running back James Montgomery is out for the season after suffering a leg injury last week against SMU. Starting right guard B.J. Guerra will be out for 4-6 weeks, starting left guard Zack Williams for at least another week, and starting defensive end Kevin Kooyman may be out for two more weeks.

On the Trojan side, Barkley, who was out with a shoulder injury, has been named the starting QB for the game tomorrow. The decision about Mays, however, has yet to be made.

Redshirt sophomore Marshall Lobbestael will be the starting quarterback for WSU, but true freshman Jeff Tuel may rotate in and make his college debut against the Trojans.

Although WSU has a bit of momentum after their win against SMU, they're facing an angry Trojans team on the road. The Cougs have a 8-56-4 all-time record against USC. Unless they get a miracle handed to them, the Cougars are likely to drop to 1-3 (0-2 Pac-10).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Revenge is so very Sweet

The Washington State University women's soccer team roped in the University of Texas Friday, shutting down the Longhorns in a rematch of last year's first round NCAA Championships.
After blanking the Longhorns 4-0 in Austin, the Cougs continued their Texas roadshow by blasting Stephen F. Austin University 5-0 on Sunday.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

That Looked Awfully Familiar

Now where have we seen that before?Like last year's Apple Cup, the Cougars were dominated Saturday for most of the game. Fans left early, and just when all hope was lost, the Washington State football team came out with an improbable victory.

Southern Methodist University doubled the Cougs' total in yardage, and held a 19 minute advantage in time-of-possession. But sometimes stats don't tell the whole story.

SMU (2-1) compiled over 504 yards in offense, but even though quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 424 yards, it was his four interceptions that sparked the Cougar comeback. Two of Mitchell's interceptions were returned for touchdowns, both with SMU driving, and it was his fourth interception that gave the Cougars the ball in overtime. Once the home team gained possession, it kicked a field goal, giving WSU (1-2) its first win of the year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Other than Football, Great Weekend for WSU Athletics

Amidst the blunder that was the Cougar football game Saturday, it was still a great weekend for WSU athletics.The women's volleyball team remained undefeated and women's soccer pulled out an impressive 2-1 victory Thursday over 18th ranked BYU.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wulff’s Reign Rides Upon this Weekend

The Paul Wulff era of WSU football likely rides upon the outcome of this weekend’s game against Southern Methodist University.A win might buy Wulff more time to rebuild his reeling program. But a loss, to an opponent still recovering from the NCAA "death penalty," would all but ensure a winless second season for the beleaguered Cougar coach, and the subsequent termination of his contract.

The 2-11 squad of yester-year, Wulff's first team at WSU, was blown out by 30 or more points seven times and became so generally pitiful it even held open-tryouts for someone to play quarterback -- unheard of at a Pac-10 school -- after the first and second-string quarterbacks went down in the same game.

This season, which has begun with two blow-out losses, seems to be headed in the same direction. In both games, it was the defense that fell short, allowing an average 38.5 points per game. The offense, a more modest 16.5 points per game, will have to put up Heisman numbers to keep the Cougs in games, though it's a definite improvement from last year's squad which amassed, in one game, just seven yards rushing.

With plenty of three-and-out offensive series to come, punter Reid Forrest, who Saturday reached 5,507 career yards, ninth most in WSU history, appears to have job security. But for how much longer will Wulff be assured a position with the team?

If the Cougs don’t win this Saturday, after the season, it may be athletic director Jim Sterk who is doing the punting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What to Expect Against Hawai'i

Coming off a 39-13 defeat at home against Stanford, the Washington State football team was in unusually high spirits. With Hawai'i coming to town (or should I say Seattle), revenge is on the Cougars' minds.

Last year, Hawai'i defeated WSU 24-10 in Honolulu, and with the Rainbow Warriors struggling last week against Central Arkansas, this is one of the few games in which WSU is favored.

What remains to be seen entering Saturday's game is how much playing time will be split between Cougar quarterbacks Marshall Lobbestael and Kevin Lopina. Lopina will start because last Saturday he was the leader on the field for all 13 of the Cougars' points.

The Cougar defense will be tested this week against the run-and-shoot Hawai'i offense. Last year Hawai'i quarterback Greg Alexander threw for over 300 yards against the Cougar secondary, and because of Hawai'i's pass happy offense, expect much of the same this year. Alexander also possesses the ability to make plays with this feet. He rushed 90 times last year, and in last week's 25-20 win over Central Arkansas, Alexander ran the ball 16 times.