WSU Opens Season at Home vs. Pepperdine, St. Mary's

Nov. 15, 2005

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What's Happening:
Regular Season Opener
Friday, Nov. 18
vs. Pepperdine
5 p.m. Pacific
Beasley Coliseum
Pullman, Wash.

On Tap:
Sunday, Nov. 20
vs. St. Mary's
2 p.m. Pacific
Beasley Coliseum
Pullman, Wash.

Next Up:
Nov. 25-27
Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic
Honolulu, Hawaii

What's Happening This Week: The Washington State women's basketball team opens the 2005-06 regular season with a two-game homestand against a pair of West Coast Conference teams...the Cougars are at home against Pepperdine, Friday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m...the homestand continues Sunday, Nov. 20 when the Cougars face St. Mary's for a 2 p.m. tip...both games are at Beasley Coliseum.

About Pepperdine: Pepperdine completed its exhibition season with a 1-1 mark...The Waves fell to Love and Basketball 77-63 (Nov. 7) and defeated Play Mode 79-65 (Nov. 12)... Jasmane Clarendon led Pepperdine with 19 points in the win over Play Mode.... The 2005-06 season marks the second for head coach Julie Rousseau, who guided the Waves to a 12-17 overall record and a 7-7 West Coast Conference third-place finish a year ago...Pepperdine returns three upperclassmen in senior Kelsey Ball and juniors Jasmane Clarendon and Lauren Wenski...also back from last year's squad is All-West Coast Conference (WCC) all-freshman team honoree Daphanie Kennedy, and Teiosha George and Shannon Johnson...the Waves welcome six newcomers to the team this season, five freshmen and one sophomore transfer.

Series With Pepperdine: Friday's game marks the first meeting between WSU and Pepperdine since Dec. 17, 1983...the Waves defeated WSU 78-75 at Pepperdine.

About St. Mary's: The Gaels dropped their one and only exhibition game, 65-59, to Love and Basketball...Saint Mary's is coming off a 15-13 overall record in 2004-05 and a 7-7 West Coast Conference mark...the Gaels return eight letterwinners and three starters from last year's team, including seniors Brianna Winn and Evynn Van Burger, the Gaels' top two returning leading scorers...the Gaels also return redshirt sophomores Monica Mertle and Serena Benavente, who were named to the WCC All-Freshman team in 2003-04 before getting injured last season.

Series With St. Mary's: The Gaels hold a 2-1 advantage over WSU in the all-time series... last year, WSU captured a 70-58 win over the Gaels at the Hilton/Concord Thanksgiving Classic in California...the last time the teams met at Pullman was Dec. 30, 1999, a 83-59 victory by St. Mary's.

Cougars Sweep Exhibition Slate: Propelled by a pair of 13-0 runs, the Cougars defeated Baden Sports 73-58 in an exhibition game Oct. 31 at Friel Court...junior Adriane Ferguson (Spokane, Wash.) led a quartet of Cougars who scored in double figures with 19 points...freshman Katie Appleton (14 points), junior Kate Benz (13 points) and senior Charmaine Jones (11 points) also reached double-digits in points...WSU made it two in a row with a 65-57 win over Lewis-Clark State Nov. 11 at Bohler Gym... Keisha Moore recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds while Adriane Ferguson added 14 points for WSU...Ferguson completed the exhibition season averaging 16.5 points a game.

Cougar Notes: As a result of playing in an exhibition game at Idaho in fall 2003 prior to transferring to WSU, Keisha Moore will miss the Cougars' opening homestand against Pepperdine and St. Mary's due to NCAA transfer rules...the Cougars were picked ninth in both the Pacific-10 Conference coaches and media poll...WSU finished ahead of Oregon State in each poll...Cougar fans can be treated to a doubleheader Apple Cup Eve as the Pepperdine game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Beasley while the volleyball team's match against Oregon State follows at 7 p.m. at Bohler Gym.

A Look Back At 2004-05:

Making Progress: In 2004-05, WSU was involved in nine games decided by six points or fewer, more than the previous two seasons combined (eight). The Cougars also made significant progress closing the scoring gap in games each year culminating in an average scoring margin that was in single digits in 2004-05. Defensively, the team held the opposition to below 70 points 19 times. In 2003 that number was seven and improved to 13 in 2004.

Benz Concludes Regular Season As Pac-10 Rebounding Leader: With a 9.1 rebound per game average, Kate Benz ended the season with a .8 advantage over Oregon's Cathrine Kraayeveld for the Pac-10 lead...Benz became the first Cougar to lead the conference in rebounding...the 9.1 figure gave Benz the fifth best single-season rebounding performance in school history...with 254 rebounds, Benz ended the season fifth on the school's single-season rebounding list...ranked in the conference's top 10 in several categories...third in the conference with eight double-doubles ...trailed Arizona's Shawntinice Polk and Kraayeveld by one in that category...led conference in defensive rebounding (6.57/game), fifth in offensive rebounding (2.50/game), and eighth in minutes played (31.86)...additionally, was 15th in scoring (10.4 ppg)....Benz earned an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection to follow up her all-freshman team honorable mention accolade.

Attendance Moving Up: WSU completed its home schedule averaging 755 fans a game...attendance has risen in each of Murrell's first three years at WSU. From 2002 -- the year prior to Murrell's arrival at WSU -- to 2005, attendance at WSU home games increased over 86 percent....the attendance figure of 1,460 for the Jan. 22 UW-WSU game was the largest to attend a Cougar home game since 1992...WSU drew 2,256 fans for its game against UW, Feb. 7, also marked the third time that WSU drew over 1,000 fans for a home game in 2004-05...marked the first time since the 1992-93 season that WSU has had at least three games that it attracted over 1,000 fans to a home game....that season, WSU had four home games of over 1,000 fans...the Cougars drew 1,020 fans for their game against Arizona State, Dec. 27...a total of 1,149 witnessed the team's 61-48 season-opening win over Boise State, Nov. 19.

Benz, Ferguson Honored: The sophomore duo of Kate Benz and Adriane Ferguson was named to the 2005 CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District VIII University Division Women's Basketball Team, Feb. 17. Benz earned a first team accolade while Ferguson garnered a second team selection. The tandem joins Lindsey Egeland (2004), Katie Nyseth (2001), Victoria Harrod (2001), Darla Williamson (1992) and Jeanne Eggart (1982) as Cougars who have earned a selection to the team. Eggart earned national honorable mention honors in 1982.

Improved Scoring Margin: The average scoring margin for the Cougars in 2004-05 was -9.2 points...that continued a trend of improvement by the team since head coach Sherri Murrell's arrival to the 2002, a year before Murrell began her tenure, the scoring margin was 2003, Murrell's first, it went down to -20.5 and in 2004 it was -12.5.

Holding The Opposition: WSU held the opposition to below 70 points 19 the 2002-03 season, head coach Sherri Murrell's first, the team had seven games of allowing fewer than 70 points...the next season that number improved to 13...the Cougars are sixth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense allowing 66.8 points a game...the 39 points allowed by WSU against Portland State, Dec. 3 were the fewest since Nov. 22, 1992 when the team defeated Gonzaga 88-37...the 30-point margin of victory was the largest for WSU since it defeated Wyoming 94-49, Nov. 24, 1998...the Cougars held PSU to 27.4 percent shooting from the field...that was the lowest shooting percentage from a Cougar opponent since Vermont (26.9 percent) in 2000.
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