Cougars Inaugurate Season with Thanksgiving Trip To East Coast

What's Happening This Week:

Tuesday, Nov. 21 - at American University, Washington D.C., 4 p.m. Pacific.

Nov. 25-26 - at Coca-Cola Classic (Host: #7 Rutgers University), Piscataway, N. J.

Saturday, Nov. 25 - WSU vs. George Washington, 10 a.m. Pacific. Rutgers vs. Vermont, Noon. Pacific.

Sunday, Nov. 26 - Consolation/Championship, 10 a.m./Noon Pacific.

Nov. 19, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. - From One Washington to Another: While the next occupant of the White House may still be in doubt one thing will be for sure this week in the nation's capitol: the 2000-01 regular season opener for the Washington State Cougars. WSU will travel to the heart of American politics, Washington D.C., to open up their season against American University. WSU will face the Eagles, Tuesday, Nov. 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 and No. 7 ranked (AP, USA Today/ESPN) Rutgers University. WSU will open up the tournament against George Washington, one of 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament field last year.

NCAA Flavor: It is fitting that WSU will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional at the Spokane Arena, March 24 & 26. WSU will have a large NCAA Tournament presence on its schedule this season. Beginning with George Washington, WSU will play seven teams (GWU, BYU, Vermont or Rutgers, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA,) and potentially eight (Montana) that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year.

Upcoming Opponents:

American University: American finished its 1999-2000 season with a 12-16 record and returns three starters and five letterwinners from last year's squad. The Eagles, under the guidance of first-year coach Shann Hart, are led by senior forward Jina Lewis. Lewis led the Eagles in rebounding in 14-of-28 games, including the last five Colonial Athletic Association conference games in which she averaged 9.8 rebounds. American opened its regular season by dropping a 79-73 decision at Bucknell Nov. 18. Sophomore forward Hollie Steinman led a contingent of four Eagles that scored in double figures with 20 points. The Eagles finished their exhibition season with a 1-1 mark. In their opening game, Lewis scored a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Eagles to a 66-53 win over the MI Express Nov. 5. In their final exhibition game, the Eagles dropped a 75-67 decision to the foreign team ofStrakonice Nov. 12. Lewis once again led the Eagles with her second consecutive double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Kaitlin Schuyler added 14 points and sophomore Erin Brady chipped in 11 points for the Eagles.

George Washington: Like their match-up versus American, this will be the first meeting for the Cougars against GWU. The Colonials return two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's 26-6 NCAA Tournament squad. GWU finished first in the Atlantic 10 Conference West Division and advanced to the second round of the NCAA's before dropping a 95-60 decision to Notre Dame. After easily winning its only exhibition game, GWU defeated Delaware 78-56 in the first round of the preseason Women's NIT Nov. 10. After falling behind 6-0 and not scoring in the first three and a half minutes of the game, GWU went on an 18-2 blitz to build a lead they would never relinquish. Five players scored in double figures for the Colonials led by 15 points each from Kristeena Alexander and Corrin Reid. Two days later, GWU faced No. 14 Virginia in the second round and dropped a 72-66 verdict to the Cavaliers. GWU fought back from a 12-point second half deficit to take the lead but succumbed to Virginia in the final minutes. Reid and Uga Oha led GWU with 16 points each.

WSU head coach Jenny Przekwas on the Cougars' East Coast Trip: 'We don't have a easy schedule early, opening up at American and then heading up to the Rutgers Tournament and facing George Washington. Win or lose, we are just going to have to play well and get into a good, solid groove with our game. I think this trip is a great opportunity for these athletes to experience not only great basketball but also different cultural experiences. I think another aspect is to take the Pac-10 to the east coast. We are always, as a conference, looking for exposure in the east.'

Exhibition Wrap-Up: Four Washington State players scored in double figures to propel the Cougars to an 82-66 win over the Manukau New Zealand Basketball Club.All 15 players on the Cougar roster saw action during the game and 11 players made a dent on the scoreboard. Katie Nyseth led Washington State with 11 points and Yvonne Volkman, Kelley Berglund and Brittney Hawks each added 10 points for the Cougars.The game began as a seesaw affair with five lead changes and four ties during the first 7:15 of play. However, with the game tied at 11 at the 12:45 mark of the first half, WSU blitzed New Zealand with a 17-4 run in the next seven minutes of play, taking a 28-15 lead. The Cougars never trailed again after the run which was initiated by four consecutive points from Whitney Martindale and sustained by scoring contributions from Berglund, Hawks, Sarah Barrett, Jessica Ottmar and Candace Fields.While the Cougar offense was hot, New Zealand's was ice-cold, managing only 24 first-half points on 8-of-28 shooting. For the game, New Zealand was 1-of-15 from three-point territory. New Zealand's Celeste Hill led all scorers with 23 points.

What's Ahead on the Record List: With 122 career three-point field goals, Joanna Smith needs three treys to pass Kelli Kronberger (124) for second on the Cougars' all-time list and 12 to overtake Heather Norman (133) for first place. Katie Nyseth's 257 career assists ranks her ninth on the Cougars' all-time list. Nyseth needs 16 assists to pass Shelley Patterson (272) for eighth place. Smith also ranks third on the school's career three-point percentage list (.395). She is WSU's single season record holder in that category when she rained in 39-of-84 three pointers (.464) in 1998.
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