Cougars Seek To Rise Above .500 Level At Bay Area Schools

Jan. 23, 2001

What's Happening This Week:
Thursday, January 25
at California (5-10, 1-4 Pac-10), 7:30 p.m. Pacific.
Saturday, January 27
at Stanford (8-7, 2-3 Pac-10), 7:30 p.m. Pacific. (Bay TV)
Both games will be broadcast on KRPL AM 1400
Pre-game begins at 7:15 p.m. Pacific.

WSU Stats At A Glance:
FG % - .416 (391-939)
3-Pt % - .354 (62-175)
FT % - .665 (206-310)
Avg. Points/Game - 65.6
Opp. Avg Points/Game - 67.8

Washington State Cougars (8-8, 3-3 Pac-10)
Current Streak: Won One
This Time Last Year: 3-13, 0-6 Pac-10

Washington State Cougars:
At Home: 5-4
(5-2 Friel Court, 0-2 Spokane Arena)
Away: 1-3
Neutral: 2-1
When Leading At The Half: 5-1
When Trailing At The Half: 3-7
When Out-Rebounded by Opponent: 2-7
When Out-Rebounding Opponent: 6-1
When Committing More Turnovers Than Opponents: 4-7
When Committing Less Turnovers Than Opponents: 4-1
When Shooting Over .400: 7-3
When Shooting Below .400: 1-5
In Games Decided By Five Points Or Less: 2-1

What's Up This Week: After a split with the Oregon schools, including a 67-64 upset win over No. 18 Oregon last week at home, the Washington State women's basketball squad embarks for the Bay Area this week. The Cougars (8-8, 3-3 Pac-10) face California (5-10, 1-4) Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Two days later, WSU faces Stanford (8-7, 2-3) Saturday, Jan. 27 also at 7:30 p.m. Saturday's win over the Ducks was the Cougars' first win over a ranked opponent since Jan. 8, 1998, a 64-61 win over then No. 10 Arizona at Tucson. Jessica Collins, who has missed the last 11 games due to a stress fracture of her left foot, remains out of action this weekend.

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 12-32 with the Cougars and 145-131 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.

Radio: All Washington State Pac-10 road contests will be broadcast on KRPL AM 1400. Alex Webster calls the action for the next broadcast contests: Jan. 25 at California and Jan. 27 at Stanford with the pre-game airing at 7:15 p.m. Netcasts will be carried at and can be linked from

This Week's Opponents:
California (5-10, 1-4): The Bears have struggled in the early portion of their Pac-10 schedule, losing four of the first five games. California dropped its tenth game of the year to Stanford, 63-56 Jan. 20. The Bears are led by Courtney Johnson and Kenya Corley who are averaging 12.6 and 11.3 points, respectively. Johnson has hit double figures in points in eight games including over 20 points in three contests.

Stanford (8-7, 2-3): The 63-56 win over California snapped a three-game losing skid for the Cardinal. Prior to this week's homestand against the Washington schools, the Cardinal had played three consecutive road games with the California win being their sole triumph in that span. Nicole Powell leads Stanford's attack averaging 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds a game. Susan King is the other player averaging double figures in points for the Cardinal with an 11.3 average. The Cardinal lead the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.717) and blocked shots (5.43 a game).

Series History:
California: The Bears and Cougars will hook up for the 34th time when they meet this Thursday. The Cougars trail in the series 18-15 and have dropped two of the last three meetings in the series. Prior to that, the Cougars had won five straight dating back to 1997. Wazzu's last victory was Jan. 27, 2000, a 72-65 win at Pullman. It was the Cougars' fourth and final win of the 1999-2000 season. The Cougars are 4-13 all-time in the series at Berkeley.

Stanford: The Cougars' game with the Cardinal will be the 31st meeting between the two teams. The series has been one that has been dominated by Stanford as the Cougars have yet to break into the win column in 30 previous attempts. Last year, Stanford defeated the Cougars 86-67, Jan. 29 at Pullman and 78-73, Feb. 24 at Stanford.

Last Week Wrap-Up:
Oregon State (Jan. 18): Jessica Ottmar scored 11 points and Victoria Harrod 10 to lead Washington State, but in the end it was Oregon State's defense that made the difference in a 64-46 OSU win over WSU.

The Beavers came into the game ranked second in the Pacific-10 Conference in scoring defense at 59.1 points, and didn't do anything to hurt their ranking, allowing the Cougars a meager 29 percent shooting from the field and a season-low 46 points. OSU also controlled the boards, outrebounding WSU 45-34.

'They are a very good defensive team, the best in the Pac-10,' offered Cougar coach Jenny Przekwas.

The Beavers were led by Nicole Funn's 17 points and 16 from Felicia Ragland, Ericka Cook added 12 for the Beavers, while Funn also led all players with eight rebounds. Four OSU players had six or more rebounds.

With OSU leading by 12 points in the second half, 42-30, Ragland took over and buried the dagger in the Cougars' heart, scoring 10 quick points in just over two minutes. The 12-2 OSU outburst boosted the visitor's lead to 22 points with 11 minutes left in the game.

First Ragland dropped a short jumper, then followed up with two treys against WSU's zone defense. After Michelle Estell added a layup for the Beavers, Ragland scored again, this time on a drive to the hoop.

OSU maintained its lead of 22 points four minutes later and never allowed WSU closer than 16 points.

While WSU never led, the Cougars were even with Oregon State 10-10 seven minutes into the contest. Nursing a four-point advantage, 16-12, with just over eight minutes left in the first half, the Beavers went on a 12-3 run to open up a 13-point lead during the next six minutes. Ragland had five and Cook three in the run.

Holding to a nine-point advantage at halftime, the Beavers increased their lead over the first two minutes of the second half by outscoring WSU 9-4. Chaney had six of the Beaver's nine points.

Harrod was one of the few Cougars to solve OSU's defensive pressure and tall inside players. The senior forward made all five of her field goal attempts, most on quick moves to the basket, and also blocked one shot. Harrod also had five rebounds.

Guard Katie Nyseth tossed in eight points for WSU, six in the opening half. She also grabbed a team-high six rebounds and handed out five assists.

Oregon (Jan. 20): Joanna Smith, who didn't see any action in the first half, came off the bench in the second half to hit three critical treys as the Washington State Cougars edged No. 18 Oregon 67-64.

Smith gave WSU its first lead of the game with a three-pointer with just over nine minutes to play, 51-50, then canned her third long range shot with 17 seconds to play, putting the Cougars on top 65-64. Victoria Harrod then iced the game for WSU with a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left on the clock.

Kelly Berglund led all WSU scorers with 14 points, including 12 in the final half, while Jessica Ottmar added 12. Harrod, who scored eight points, pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Brianne Meharry led Oregon with a game-high 17 points before fouling out late in the game. She also had a team-high eight rebounds. Ndidi Unaka added 15 and Jamie Craighead 13 for the Ducks.

The Cougars stayed with the favored Ducks with solid shooting, 44 percent for the game, better rebounding, 38-32 in favor of WSU, and a perfect night at the free throw line where they made all 15 shots.

Oregon, meanwhile, shot well from the field, 43.8 percent, but struggled at the charity stripe, making just five of 12 shots. They also only converted three three-point shots in 14 tries.

While the Cougars had only 23 field goals, five less than Oregon, they made up for it at the free throw line, outscoring Oregon 15-5. WSU also had the upper hand with six treys in 15 shots.

Oregon scored the first six points of the game, but the Cougars battled back to earn ties at 12-12 and 14-14. The Ducks then broke loose from WSU with a 10-0 run, including four points from Jenny Mowe, who finished with six points and six rebounds.

WSU battled back to within one point, 27-26, on a trey by Sara Barrett, but the Ducks again forged ahead, scoring the final six points of the first half to take a 33-26 lead to the lockerroom.

The second half had a similar flow, with WSU trailing by seven 39-32, then coming back to within one point, 39-38, on Ottmar's bucket with 15-plus minutes to play. The Ducks again responded with seven quick points, including a Craighead three-pointer and Unaka's bucket that forged a 46-38 lead.

That's when Smith started lighting up the scoreboard. With WSU down by 10, Harrod scored and Smith followed with her first trey, cutting Oregon's lead to five, 48-43. Yvonne Volkman then completed a three-point play with a free throw and Berglund hit a short jumper to pull WSU within two points, 50-48.

Smith then dropped home another trey on WSU's next possession to give the Cougars their first lead, 51-50, with 9:19 to play. Five lead changes later, the two teams were deadlocked 55-55 with 5:22 left on the clock.

Katie Nyseth, who handed out six assists for WSU, then hit her only three-pointer of the game to give the Cougars a 58-55 lead. Meharry kept the Ducks in the game on their next two possessions with a jumper and a layin, but a jumper from Ottmar and Berglund's layin kept WSU op top by three with two minutes to play.

The Ducks finally regained the lead 64-62 with 65 seconds to play on a jumper from Kourtney Shreve, her only basket in eight shots.

Smith then hit her third trey with 17 seconds to play, giving WSU a 65-64 lead. The Ducks had a chance to go back on top with about five seconds to play, but Craighead's shot did not find the basket and Harrod was fouled on the scramble for the rebound, allowing WSU to add two more free throws. WSU then stole Oregon's length of the court pass to end the game.

Smith Ties Record: With her three treys against Oregon, senior Joanna Smith increased her career three-point field goal total to 133. That ties her with Heather Norman (133, 1989-92) for first on the school's all-time three-point field goal list. With a .390 (133-341) career three-point percentage, Smith ranks third on the school's all-time three-point percentage list. Smith has made a total of seven treys in her last three games.

Diverse Scoring: Once again the Cougars do not have a player averaging double figures in points but the squad does boast four players (Kelley Berglund - 8.9, Brittney Hawks - 8.9, Katie Nyseth - 8.6, Yvonne Volkman - 8.2) averaging over eight points a game.

No Second-Half Blues Lately: 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. However, the final half has been a friendlier time for the Cougars as they have outscored their opponents in six of the last eight contests. In those eight games, WSU outscored its opposition by an average score of 37.4-34.4 in the second half. For the season, WSU has outscored its opposition 573-560 in the second half including 223-210 in Pac-10 games.

But In The First Half....: WSU has been outscored in the first half in six of its past seven games. In those seven games, the Cougars have been outscored by an average margin of 37.9-28.4. The first half was a different story for the Cougars' in their first nine games as they outscored the opposition by an average margin of 30.9-28.9. For the season, WSU has been outscored 525-477 in the first half including 228-171 in Pac-10 games.

Pac-10 Turnover Struggles: 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 has recorded over 20 turnovers in five of its six Pac-10 games. WSU has averaged 21 turnovers for the season while its opponents have turned the rock over an average of 19.1 times a contest. Although Oregon State turned the ball over more than the Cougars by a 24-19 margin, the Beavers handed WSU its first loss of the season when the Cougars commit fewer turnovers than their opponents. WSU is 4-1 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponents and 4-7 when committing more.

Double-Double Run: After going through the first eight games of the season without a double-double, the Cougars have accomplished the feat in four of the past eight 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. Brittney Hawks extended it to three in a row with her 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win over USC Jan. 4. Hawks became the first Cougar to record two double-doubles this season with her 10 points and 10 rebounds at Arizona Jan. 11.

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 336 career assists, Nyseth ranks sixth on the Cougars' all-time list in that category. For the season, Nyseth is averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. In addition, she leads the team in assists (4.9 a game) and steals (1.9 a game).

NCAA Flavor: It is fitting that WSU will host the 2001 NCAA West Regional, March 24 & 26 at the Spokane Arena with the large 2000 NCAA Tournament presence on its schedule. WSU has already played seven teams (George Washington, Vermont, BYU, Montana, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona) that reached the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Stanford will mark the eighth team that the Cougars will play this season that advanced to the field of 64 last year.

Pac-10 Leaders: Katie Nyseth leads the Pac-10 in assist to turnover ratio with a 1.97 figure...Jessica Ottmar's 8-of-9 free throw performance against Idaho Dec. 2 rates second best in the conference...The Cougars are third in the conference is assists (16.07 a game) and defensive rebounds (25.27 a game).

Other Notes: The 15-of-15 performance from the free throw line against Oregon was the first perfect effort by the Cougars from the charity stripe since Feb. 11, 1999 a 14-of-14 effort also against Oregon...Ten different players have been a member of the WSU starting line-up so far this season. Katie Nyseth and Jessica Ottmar are the only two players on the team who have started every game...The win over Oregon was WSU's third win (Idaho, USC) this season in which it came back from a double-digit deficit and the Cougars' third win when they were trailing at the half...Despite out-rebounding Arizona State 34-31, the 83-70 defeat by the Sun Devils Jan. 13 was the team's first loss when it has out-rebounded an opponent...The Cougars are 6-1 when out-rebounding their opponents and 2-7 when being out-rebounded...The Cougars are 5-2 at Friel Court this season... Sophomore Jessica Ottmar averaged 11.5 points in two games this week, reaching double figures in points against both Oregon and Oregon State.
Now on Pac-12 Network
1:00 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder