WSU Faces New Zealand All-Stars In Only Exhibition Contest

Nov. 8, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. - What's Happening This Week: Friday, November 10 - WSU vs. New Zealand All-Stars, 7 p.m., Beasley Coliseum.

What's Happening Next Week: No game scheduled. Cougars open regular season Tuesday, November 21 versus American University at Washington D.C.

Let The Season Begin: As one campaign ends this week another one will commence, when after nearly a month of practice, the WSU women's basketball team will take to the Friel Court floor for the first time this season. WSU begins its 2000-01 campaign Friday, November 10 with its only exhibition game against the New Zealand All-Stars at Beasley Coliseum. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

From One Washington to Another: Speaking of campaigns, the Cougars will travel to the heart of American politics, Washington D.C., to open up their regular season against American University. WSU will face the Eagles, Tuesday, November 21 at 4 p.m. Pacific in the first meeting between the two clubs. The Cougars will continue their east coast swing to Piscataway, N.J. Nov. 25 & 26 at the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by 2000 Final Four participant Rutgers University. WSU will open up the tournament against George Washington, one of the 64 members in the NCAA Tournament field last year.

Historic Season: March Madness in December? That is what will happen Dec 8 & 9 when the Cougars host Idaho, Portland and Toledo in the inaugural Cougar Shootout. The Shootout will serve as a precursor for when the real madness hits Spokane. WSU will serve as host for the NCAA Women's West Regional March 24 & 26 at the Arena.

Season Outlook: As the Cougars enter the 2000-01 season, second year coach Jenny Przekwas will rely heavily on her veterans while receiving production from her newcomers.Leading the veteran contingent is the trio of Yvonne Volkman, Katie Nyseth, and Victoria Harrod who return as senior starters for the Cougars.

Volkman, who averaged 9.4 points while starting 24 games last year, is the team's leading returning scorer. Nyseth, who started 27 games, led the team with 3.9 assists a game and missed only one shot from the charity stripe last year. Harrod was injured in the Cougars' first game of the year, however she came back at the end of December to be the Cougars' most accurate shooter from the field shooting at a 49 percent clip. In addition, Harrod, a career 81 percent free throw shooter, made over 90 percent of her free throw attempts.

Seniors Jessica Collins and Joanna Smith, and sophomores Kelley Berglund and Jessica Ottmar combined for 15 starts last season.

As a freshman, Berglund was one of only three players (Volkman, Nyseth) to see action in all 28 games last year. She completed the season as the team's third leading rebounder (4.0 a game) and her 39 offensive boards was second best on the team (Volkman, 46).

Collins participated in 26 games last year, including six starts, during the 1999-2000 season. Smith will look to repeat a freshman year that saw her make 68 three-pointers and earn an All-Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection. After taking the 1999 season off, Smith returned to play in 20 games last year, starting two. She enters this season third on the school's career list in three-point field goals (122) and third in three-point field goal percentage (39.5).

Ottmar was an accurate force from the floor, converting on over 44 percent of her attempts.

'Our experience lies with the guards,' Przekwas said. 'Four of the five seniors are guards, and Vic will work into a perimeter game this year. The returning players are already showing so much more confidence in what they're doing on the court. The seem to understand the expectations, and are certainly working hard to meet them.'

Along with the seven returnees, Przekwas has brought some new faces to the squad with the addition of four junior college transfers, Sarah Barrett, Szudia (pronounced Shoe-Dee-uh) Bragg, Brittney Hawks and Whitney Martindale along with four freshman, Kim Dugan, Candace Fields, Rebecca Jordan and Lindsey Egeland. Each of these players brings their own unique resume to the Cougar squad.

'We look to our newcomers, both transfers and freshman, to contribute right away,' Przekwas said. 'This may mean playing time for some, but mostly we need to improve the competition in practice.'

With this mixture of veterans and newcomers Przekwas sees her Cougar squad as having a more physical presence on the court.

'We definitely have a stronger inside game this year,' Przekwas said. 'Although Berglund is still young, we'll look to her for an increased role scoring and rebounding. Two newcomers, Hawks and Fields, should add much needed depth to the five position. In the Pac-10, having a post game is crucial. We need size and strength in the paint, and we're a step closer to having that this year.'
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