Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cougars Stumble into Midseason

Washington State won 10 of its first 12 games this season, but concluded the first half of its conference schedule with a near 30-point defeat to sit at 14-7 overall. For WSU, Saturday's 92-64 loss at the University of Washington played out like a microcosm of the season.

Washington State started out hot against the Huskies, taking a 14-3 lead early and led 40-36 at halftime. But just as it has in nearly all of its Pac-10 games -- WSU is 4-5 in conference -- the Cougs faltered in the second half.

Klay Thompson struggled to find his rhythm and contributed just 7 points, going 2-15 from the field, and 1-6 beyond the arc.

In the second half, the Cougs fell apart, missing their first 13 shots as the Huskies routed the Cougs, outscoring them 56-24.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wulff Lands 22nd Recruit

According to CougFan, Paul Wulff and his coaching staff have landed defensive end Kalafitoni Pole from James Logan High School in Union City, California.

Pole has yet to be rated by Following his senior season in 2009, Pole was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Mission Valley Athletic League.

Check out this video of Pole. Check back later for an updated list of Paul Wulff's 2010 recruiting class. Letter of Intent Day is just two weeks away.

Women's Basketball Has a Bright Future

Selling the rural campus of Washington State University could be considered by some a challenging task, but women’s assistant basketball coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Holsinger views Pullman's “unique location” as a boon.

“We have something that is very different here,” Holsinger told Wazzu Sports. “It’s not Los Angeles, it’s not Phoenix and it’s not Seattle... We sell the college town big time.”

Other Pac-10 schools, such as the University of Washington, reside in the heart of major cities, which makes them appealing to many collegiate athletes. But Katie Madison, a junior on the Cougar women's team, sees Washington State's isolation as an advantage.

“[Pullman] is such a strong community, and the focus is on the university and its athletics," she said. "There’s no other distractions like a pro team, and there is so much pride in an area like this. I love it."

According to Holsinger, the coaching staff works "really hard at finding those kinds of kids and families that love [the family environment], and when they come here, they feel at home."

The biggest challenge, he said, is getting a recruit to visit.

In her first season as WSU head coach, June Daugherty assembled the nation's sixteenth best recruiting class, and the second best incoming crew out of the Pac-10, according to Blue Star Basketball.

“Every player from our first recruiting class talked to Tony Bennett and the players [of the men‘s basketball team],” Holsinger said. “We told our recruits that if you want to come here and make this your own, and be the ones who [build a winning program]... then this is it.”

Daugherty coached the University of Washington for 11 seasons, taking the Huskies to six NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2001.

“We have highlighted June’s success as a main factor in recruiting,” Holsinger said.

For Holsinger, Daugherty, and the rest of the Coug coaches, success will be gauged by wins on the court, something the Cougs have been sorely lacking. In Daugherty's first three seasons, the Cougs have won just 24 games.

"Losing is hard," Holsinger admitted. "But we are starting to turn a corner."

Pac-10 Race Remains Wide Open

After splitting road games last weekend in southern California, the Cougar men's basketball team finds itself ranked seventh in the Pac-10. There is still a lot to be optimistic about early in the season, though. Here are just a few reasons I predict the Cougs will finish the season seeded no lower than third.

  • Washington State’s overall record is 14-6; this matches Arizona State, the second place team in the Pac-10, and is the best winning percentage in the league.
  • Four of the Cougs' six losses this season have been on the road. Two of their road games were against top 20 opponents, and the other two road losses were against Pac-10 schools. This leaves the Cougs with only two home losses, with one of them being the highly controversial Oregon game. Anyway, the point I'm attempting to articulate is that the Cougs are difficult to beat at home. In a conference race this close, with only one win separating the Cougs from first-place Cal, winning home games and splitting road trips may be just the recipe for the Cougs to win the conference and extend their season into March.