Cougars Look To Continue Hot Streak In Arizona

Jan. 8, 2001

Washington State Cougars (7-5, 2-0 Pac-10)

What's Happening:
Thursday, January 11
at No. 22 Arizona (12-2, 2-0 Pac-10), 6 p.m. Pacific.
Saturday, January 13
at Arizona State (9-5, 1-1 Pac-10), 6 p.m. Pacific.

Both games will be broadcast on KRPL AM 1400
Pre-game begins at 5:45 p.m.

WSU Stats At A Glance:
FG % - .433 (304-702)
3-Pt % - .353 (41-116)
FT % - .658 (160-243)
Avg. Points/Game - 67.4
Opp. Avg Points/Game - 64.8

Current Streak: Won Two
Cougars' Record:
At Home: 4-3
Away: 1-1
Neutral: 2-1
When Leading At The Half: 5-1
When Trailing At The Half: 2-4
When Out-Rebounded by Opponent: 2-5
When Out-Rebounding Opponent: 5-0
When Committing More Turnovers Than Opponents: 3-5
When Committing Less Turnovers Than Opponents: 4-0
When Shooting Over .400: 6-2
When Shooting Below .400: 1-3

Time Change: Mark your calendars! The game time for the Jan. 20 Oregon contest at Friel Court has been changed from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

What's Up This Week: Winners of four of its last five games, the Washington State women's basketball team will look to continue its hot streak at fittingly the Valley of the Sun this week. The Pac-10 co-leaders (7-5, 2-0 Pac-10) will face fellow co-leaders Arizona (12-2, 2-0) Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. Pacific. Two days later, WSU faces Arizona State (9-5, 1-1 Pac-10) also at 6 p.m. Pacific. The Cougars will be without the services of Yvonne Volkman and Jessica Collins this weekend. Volkman and Collins have missed their last five and seven games, respectively, due to a stress fracture of their left foot. Before her injury, Volkman was the team's leading scorer averaging nine points a game.

Radio: All Washington State Pac-10 road contests will be broadcast on KRPL AM 1400. Alex Webster will be calling the action for this week's contests with the pre-game airing at 5:45 p.m. Netcasts will be carried at and can be linked from

Media Teleconference: The first Pac-10 coaches' media teleconference of 2001 will be Tuesday, Jan. 9. Media members may call in to speak to each Pac-10 women's basketball coach according to the following schedule: 9:35 a.m. - Charlie Turner Thorne (ASU), 9:40 - Joan Bonvicini (ARIZ), 9:45 - June Daugherty (WASH), 9:50 - Jenny Przekwas (WSU), 9:55 - Chris Gobrecht (USC), 10 - Kathy Olivier (UCLA), 10:05 - Judy Spoelstra (OSU), 10:10 - Jody Runge (ORE), 10:15 - Caren Horstmeyer (CAL), 10:20 - Tara VanDerveer (STAN).

The Coach: Jenny Przekwas is in her second season at the helm of the Cougars and her tenth as a head coach overall. Przekwas is 11-29 with the Cougars and 144-128 overall. Prior to coming to the Palouse, Przekwas spent eight years at Saint Francis (Penn.) where she left as the winningest coach in school history compiling a 133-99 overall record. During her tenure, Przekwas guided Saint Francis to four Northeast Conference titles and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

This Week's Opponents:
No. 22 Arizona (12-2, 2-0 Pac-10): Arizona is ranked 22nd in this week's AP poll, its first top-25 ranking since ending the 1999-2000 season at 20th (coaches') and 21st (AP). The Wildcats enter Thursday's game riding a five-game winning streak. Arizona opened the conference season by traveling to the Bay Area and defeating then 21st ranked Stanford 68-65 and California 79-68. Four Wildcats players are averaging double figures in scoring led by Elizabeth Pickney's 16.1 points a game. Veranda James (15.3 ppg), Reshea Bristol (14.6) and Tysell Bozeman (10.3) round out the double-digit quartet. Arizona is 7-0 at home this season.

Arizona State (9-5, 1-1 Pac-10): After beginning the season with four consecutive wins, the Sun Devils have alternated a loss with a win in their last 10 contests. Arizona State is coming off a split on its Bay Area road trip, defeating California 58-47 and losing to Stanford 92-64. The Sun Devils boast three players - Amanda Levens (13.9) Melody Johnson (13.5) and Betsy Boardman (10.7) who are averaging double figures in points. ASU is 5-2 at home this season.

Series History:
Arizona: The Bruins and Cougars will hook up for the 29th time when they meet this Thursday. The Cougars lead the series 16-12 but have dropped the last three meetings with the Wildcats. Wazzu's last victory in the series was Jan. 7, 1999, an 87-77 win at Pullman. The last time the Cougars won at Tuscon was a 64-61 triumph Jan. 8, 1998. The Cougars are 8-6 all-time at Arizona.

Arizona State: Like Arizona, the Cougars' game with the Sun Devils will be the 29th meeting between the two teams. But unlike the series with the Wildcats, the Cougars are on the short end of the all-time series history with Arizona State by a 17-11 margin. WSU has dropped the last six meetings with Arizona State. The Cougars' last victory was March 1, 1997, an 84-70 win at Pullman. WSU is 3-11 all-time at Tempe with its last win coming by an 86-78 verdict, Jan. 30, 1997.

Last Week Wrap-Up:
USC (Jan. 4): Perseverance does pay off.Brittney Hawks' lay-in as time expired capped a come from behind effort for the Cougars as WSU edged the USC Trojans 79-78 to open Pac-10 conference play.The win marked the first Pac-10 season opening victory for WSU since January 6, 1994, an 88-82 win over California at Pullman.'To start the Pac-10 season off with a win is great for the program,' said WSU coach Jenny Przekwas. 'This is my biggest win as a Cougar.'After relinquishing a 5-4 lead at the 17:20 mark of the first half, the Cougars would fall behind by as much as 10 points before heading into halftime facing a 40-33 deficit.For much of the second half it seemed that Cougars were climbing a hill as high as those outside the Pullman campus.On four separate occasions, WSU would cut the Trojans' lead to one only to be turned back. Finally, with the Cougars' down 72-69 with 3:04 left, Katie Nyseth converted a three-point play to tie the game at 72.That tie began a sequence that saw five lead changes and three ties in the final 3:04.After a bucket by the Trojans' Tiffany Elmore put USC back up 74-72, the Cougars' Victoria Harrod converted a three-point play of her own to put WSU up 75-74 with 2:21 remaining. It was the Cougars' first lead since 5-4 at the 17:20 mark of the first half.Both teams traded leads during the next minute and then with WSU up 77-76, the Trojans' Ebony Hoffman's lay-up with one minute remaining gave USC a 78-77 advantage.On the Cougars' ensuing possession, a steal by USC's Aisha Hollans gave the Trojans the ball back but Elmore missed a jumper and Whitney Martindale came down with the rebound for the Cougars and called timeout with four seconds left. Coming out of the time out, Hawks took the inbound pass from Harrod and proceeded to make the lay-in to give the Cougars the win.'USC is a very good team and to come up with the win after being down and to make a lot of runs at them before finally finishing it is a great feeling.' said Przekwas. 'I thought USC really dominated the boards and their pressure defense was stifling in the first half. But we stayed with it. I give a lot of credit to the players who didn't quit.'Hawks' finished with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Nyseth led the Cougars with a career-high 18 points and Kelley Berglund added 14 points, her second straight game in double digits. USC was led by a game-high 21-point effort from Hoffman.

UCLA (Jan. 6): Riding the wave of a 14-0 run over the course of the first and second halves, the Washington State women's basketball team defeated the UCLA Bruins 74-52 to improve to 2-0 in Pac-10 play.In recording only their sixth win in the 29-game history with the Bruins, the Cougars registered their largest margin of victory over UCLA.The triumph, coupled with Thursday's 79-78 victory over USC, marked the first time since the 1991-92 season that the Cougars opened the conference season with two wins. The USC victory marked the first time WSU opened up the Pac-10 season with a win since 1994. In addition, the weekend sweep over USC and UCLA was the first time the Cougars swept the Los Angeles schools since 1995.'This is a huge weekend for the Cougs,' said WSU head coach Jenny Przekwas. 'To start off the Pac-10 season with our first win since 1994 and to put them back-to-back is very big for us.'Kelley Berglund scored a game-high 17 points and Brittney Hawks added 13 for the Cougars. Berglund and Hawks led a contingent of 11 WSU players that made a dent on the scoreboard. Three players - Sarah Barrett, Katie Nyseth and Jessica Ottmar - scored nine points a piece.UCLA was without the services of leading scorer Michelle Greco who sat out with the flu. The Bruins were led by Natalie Nakase and Jalina Bradley who scored 11 points a piece.Although the final margin of victory was large, the first half featured a total of eight ties and six lead changes. Neither team had any larger than a four-point lead in the first 17:12 of the game. However, with the Bruins up 27-23 at the 2:48 mark of the half, the Cougars blitzed UCLA with an 11-point run that gave them a 34-27 halftime advantage.Nyseth stretched the run to 14 consecutive points with a three-pointer to open up the second half. That extended the Cougars' advantage to 37-27 with 19:48 remaining. UCLA would never get closer than eight points the rest of the way.WSU won despite committing a season-high 34 turnovers. The Cougars countered that however with a season-best 54.5 percent (24-of-44) shooting performance from the field. Conversely, UCLA shot 19-of-74 (25.7 percent) for the game including 8-of-41 (19.5 percent) in the second half.

Honors Continue For Nyseth: Katie Nyseth's all-tournament selection at the Lady Griz Classic Dec. 29-30 was just the latest in a string of honors that have rolled in for her this season. Maybe the most noteworthy of these honors has been her selection 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 winner of the award will be announced in January.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 314 career assists, Nyseth ranks sixth on the Cougars' all-time list in that category. For the season, Nyseth is averaging 8.3 points and 3.4 rebounds a game. In addition, she leads the team in assists (4.8 a game) and steals (1.8 a game).

Diverse Scoring: While Hawks is the only Cougar to average double figures in points, WSU does have eight players averaging five or more points a game. All 15 players on the squad have made a mark on the scoreboard and have seen action in at least four games.No Second-Half Blues Anymore: In four of their first seven games, the Cougars had been outscored in the second half. In those seven contests, WSU was outscored by an average score of 37.3-33.6. The second half however has been a friendlier time lately for the Cougars as they have outscored their opposition in four of their last five contests. In those five games, WSU has outscored its opposition by an average score of 40.2-30.4. WSU has outscored its opposition 373-364 the first half and 436-413 in the second half for the season.

Turnover Turnaround And Back: After beginning the season with 29 and 26 turnovers in their first two games the Cougars did not eclipse the 20-turnover mark in their next eight games. However, WSU recorded 28 and 34 turnovers against USC and UCLA, respectively last week. Despite that, the Cougars recorded wins against each of the Los Angeles schools. WSU has averaged 20.9 turnovers for the season while its opponents have turned the rock over an average of 19.8 times a contest. WSU is 4-0 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponents and 3-5 when committing more.

Double-Double Run: After going through the first eight games of the season without a double-double, the Cougars accomplished the feat in three consecutive games. Whitney Martindale started the ball rolling with a 13-point, 10-rebound effort in the 76-49 win over Samford Dec. 29. Kelley Berglund recorded the second double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds versus Montana Dec. 30. Hawks extended it to three in a row with her 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win over USC Jan. 4.

First Time In The Arena: The Dec. 8 game versus Portland marked the first time the Cougars played at the Spokane Arena. The Dec. 8-9 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 four teams (George Washington, Vermont, BYU, Montana) that reached the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The Cougars will play four more squads this season (Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA) that advanced to the field of 64 last year.

Other Notes: The Cougars are 5-0 when out-rebounding their opponents and 2-5 when being out-rebounded...three-point territory at Friel Court was an inimical place for both USC and UCLA last week. The teams shot a combined 4-of-27 (14.8 percent) from outside the arc...against USC and UCLA the Cougars shot 53-of-102 (52 percent) from the floor while the L.A. schools shot a combined 47-of-151 (31.1 percent)...the 24-of-44 (54.5 percent) shooting effort against UCLA was a season-best. For the season, WSU has out shot its opponents by a .433 to .367 percentage...the .367 mark ranks first in the conference for field goal defense...the 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) free throw effort against USC was a season best...WSU is tied for first in the conference with Washington averaging 16.67 assists a game.

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