A week of ups and downs for Cougar athletics

The victories of WSU women’s basketball, the loss of Cougar athletic alumni, and a triumphant start to the women’s tennis season; Cougar athletics has endured its ups and downs this week.

Women’s basketball

Following a three-game winning streak, WSU women’s basketball assistant coach Brian Holsinger stopped by Cougar Calls Monday to share his thoughts on the 2015 team and the devastating loss of senior center Shalie Dheensaw.

“Any time we lose a player like Shalie, offensively and defensively, it changes everything you do,” Holsinger said. “We’ve been retooling things with the amount of time we have.”

Dheensaw was injured during the last seconds of the Oregon State game on Jan. 16, where the Cougars fell to the Beavers with a final score of 73-70. Soon after, it was announced that Dheensaw’s injury would keep her off the court for the rest of the season, thus ending her WSU career.

“She is the communicator, she’s telling everybody where to go, she’s been valuable for our defense,” Holsinger said.

This last weekend, the Cougars beat Utah Friday by a score of 63-54, and were able to pull out another win Sunday with a final score of 73-68 against Colorado.

The Cougar women’s next game will be Saturday, Jan. 31, at Stanford. The game will be carried on the Pac-12 Networks.

Loss of WSU Athletic Alumni

With the rise of Cougar basketball last week, there was also the fall of two significant individuals that were once involved with Cougar athletics.

Raymond “Ray” Nagel, 87, died Jan. 15 in San Antonio. Nagel was a former WSU athletic director in 1971, replacing Stan Bates at the time. Current WSU athletic director Bill Moos was still a student at WSU at the time, as a junior. Nagel held his position at Washington State until 1976.

“There is no more classier guy than Ray Nagel,” Moos said.

Prior to his time in Pullman, Nagel played football for UCLA and then moved on to become the assistant football coach for Oklahoma.

“He brought an element of class to Cougar athletics,” Moos said.

The Cougar nation also lost former Washington State athlete William “Bud” Roffler. Roffler was born in 1930 and spent the majority of his high school career in Spokane after moving to the city before his sophomore year.

The Pine City native played three sports during his time as a Cougar: football, basketball and baseball.

Following his WSU career, the Green Bay Packers drafted Roffler in 1952. Roffler played for the team for three years, but was in a car accident that ended his playing career.

Roffler was inducted into the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I never knew Bud not to have a smile on his face,” Moos said.

Cougar Tennis

Cougar athletics continued to power through the week, despite the losses of the Cougar family. WSU head tennis coach Lisa Hart was a guest on Cougar Calls yesterday to give an update on the status of her team after their three-game winning streak.

The team this season has five new faces and three returners that played one, two and three last year.

Senior Elizaveta Luzina from Moscow, Russia, is on track to break the all-time wins record, Hart said.

With the entire WSU tennis team originating from Europe, some worry there is a cultural barrier in the classroom for these athletes, but Hart assures there is not one worry in her mind for her team.

“They’re pretty well-prepared, our academic staff is amazing,” Hart said. “The first semester, they just jump in and our staff helps them along the way. Usually by the second or third semester, they’re fine.”

The team averaged around a 3.4 GPA during the fall 2014 semester, Hart said.