Lady Griz Classic Final Tune-Up For Cougars Before PAC-10

Dec. 27, 2000

Washington State (4-4)

What's Happening This Week:At Lady Griz Holiday Classic at Missoula, Mont.
Friday, December 29 vs. Samford (2-7) 5 p.m. PST
Saturday, December 30 vs. Montana (6-3) or Robert Morris (2-6) 5 or 7 p.m.

Ringing In The New Year:
After an 11-day break for finals and Christmas, WSU returns to action this weekend at the Lady Griz Holiday Classic at Missoula, Mont Dec. 29-30. Along with the host Montana Lady Griz (6-3), the Cougars will join the Samford Bulldogs (2-7) and the Robert Morris Colonials (2-6) for the New Year's weekend tournament. WSU opens the Classic against Samford Friday at 5 p.m. Pacific.

Like the Cougars, the Bulldogs will be coming off a long lay-off having not played since a 72-62 loss to Tennessee Martin Dec. 16. The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Aimee Cochran and freshman forward Giovanni Price who are averaging 10.6 and 10.3 points, respectively. WSU will be without the services of Jessica Collins and Yvonne Volkman for the next 2-4 weeks as each are suffering from stress fractures to their left foot.

This weekend's tournament will serve as a final tune-up for the Cougars before the Pac-10 season begins. WSU will open up the conference season by hosting USC, Thursday, Jan. 4 and UCLA, Saturday, Jan. 6. Tip-off for both games is slated for 7 p.m. at Friel Court

Lucky Number Four:
The 74-56 win over Gonzaga Dec. 17 marked the Cougars' fourth win of the season, equaling last year's win total. The Cougars' fourth and final win of last year was a 72-65 victory over California, Jan. 27, 2000.

Series History:
Friday's game will be the first meeting between WSU and Samford. In addition, WSU and Robert Morris have never met. WSU and Montana have met 33 times in its history with the Cougars holding a 17-16 edge. The two teams last met Dec. 21, 1992, a 68-63 Montana triumph at Missoula.

Diverse Scoring:
While WSU does not have a player who is averaging double figures in scoring, it does have seven players averaging five points or more a game. The Cougars are led in scoring by Brittney Hawks' 9.9 points a game. Hawks also leads the team in rebounding with a 5.3 per game average.

Honors Continue For Nyseth:
Although the Cougars have been absent from the court during the past week the honors have continued to roll in for senior Katie Nyseth. Nyseth was selected as one of eight finalists for the second annual One-On-One Sports Socrates Award Dec. 19.

The Socrates Award is presented annually to the college athlete who best exemplifies excellence in athletics, academics and the Socrates creed 'Strong Mind In A Strong Body.' This includes a student-athlete who has shown himself or herself to be a leader and quality contributor in their sport(s), an outstanding student academically and a quality citizen in his/her community. Last year's inaugural winner of the award was Purdue quarterback Drew Brees.

This year's finalists, along with Nyseth and Brees are Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke from Florida State, Bethany Bogart (UCLA, soccer), Andre Carter (California, football), Kimball Christianson (Utah, football), Ben Hamilton (Minnesota, football) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska, football).The award will be presented at the March of Dimes National Athletic Award event, scheduled for Tuesday, March 6, 2001 at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Mich. CBS Sports' Greg Gumbel will serve as Master of Ceremonies and Fox Sports Net will televise the event.

The public can vote online and help determine the winner of the award, which will be announced in early January. The winner of the online vote will receive one-third of the total possible vote. To cast a vote log on to and follow the Socrates Award link.

The Socrates Award is another of an ever-growing list of honors for Nyseth, a 5-3 senior guard from Cheshire, Ore., this season. Nyseth was honored with the 2000 Rutgers University Coca-Cola Classic Scholar Athlete Award, Nov. 24. An aspect of the award was a scholarship donation made to WSU in Nyseth's name. In addition, she was an All-Tournament Team selection at the Classic, Nov. 25-26. In two games versus George Washington and Vermont, Nyseth averaged 10 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and two steals.

Just a week later, Nyseth was named with a second team selection to the Successful Farming Magazine's All American Women's Basketball Farm Team, Dec. 2. The All American Farm Team is a scholastic program honoring outstanding college athletes who call a farm or ranch home. All athletes and their parents receive a plaque honoring their selection to the team.

Nyseth is a Biological Systems Engineering major and carries a 3.86 GPA. She was honored last year as the College of Agriculture and the Biological Systems Engineering Junior of the Year. In addition, she was a 2000 Pacific-10 All-Academic Team selection.

With 298 career assists, Nyseth ranks seventh on the Cougars' all-time list in that category. She is just nine assists shy of Penny Bowden (307 assists, 1987-88) for sixth position. Nyseth is averaging 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds a game and leads the team in assists (5.1 a game) and steals (2.5 a game). In addition, Nyseth leads the Pac-10 with a 2.56 assist/turnover ratio and is second in the conference with a .471 three-point field goal percentage (8-of-17).

No Second-Half Blues This Time:
WSU entered the Gonzaga game outscoring its opponents 205-201 in the first half but having been outscored 261-235 in the second half. That trend did not manifest itself against the Bulldogs as the Cougars outscored Gonzaga 39-24 in the second half. Through eight games, WSU has outscored its opponents 240-233 in the first half and have been outscored 285-274 in the second half. The Cougars are 3-1 when leading at the half and 1-3 when trailing

First Time In The Arena:
The Dec. 8 game versus Portland marked the first time the Cougars played at the Spokane Arena. The Cougar Shootout was just a taste of the future for the Arena when it comes to women's basketball. WSU and the Arena will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional, March 24 & 26 with a trip to the Women's Final Four in St. Louis, March 30 & April 1, at stake.

NCAA Flavor:
It is fitting that WSU will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional with the large 2000 NCAA Tournament presence on its schedule. WSU has already played three teams (George Washington, Vermont, BYU) that has played in the 2000 NCAA Tournament and will play four more squads (Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA,) and potentially a fifth (Montana) that advanced to the field of 64 last year.

Consistent Starters:
The Cougars have used four different starting line-ups so far this season. The most common ensemble has been the quintet of Yvonne Volkman, Jessica Ottmar, Katie Nyseth, Sarah Barrett and Kelley Berglund, who have been the starting line-up for five games. Brittney Hawks has started three games, Victoria Harrod has been the starter for two games and Whitney Martindale has started for one game this season. Ottmar and Nyseth have started all eight of WSU's games.

Smith Watch:
With 126 career three-pointers, senior Joanna Smith needs eight more treys to surpass Heather Norman (133, 1989-92) for first on the school's all-time list. With a .393 (126-321) career three-point percentage, Smith ranks third on the school's all-time list.

Cougar Numbers:
After beginning the season with 29 and 26 turnovers in their first two games the Cougars have been under 20 in each game since. WSU has averaged 16.8 turnovers in its past six games and 19.5 turnovers for the season. The Cougars' opponents have turned the rock over an average of 20.1 times a contest. WSU is 3-0 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponents.

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