‘Let’s go Cougs:’ Cougar hoops gain a fan in Shania Twain

‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ unofficial anthem of WSU women’s basketball



The WSU women’s basketball team sings “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain while celebrating a 67-57 victory over Oregon State, Feb. 19, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

In the final seconds of WSU women’s basketball’s 66-58 upset of second-seeded and then-No. 3 in the nation Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals, Chris Caskey, WSU sports information director, stepped away from his laptop where he was covering the most significant win in program history to briskly jog about a quarter of the way around the arena to visit the DJ and request a song that had come to define the Cougar’s season.

When the clock hit zero and the Cougars had clinched the upset, a familiar song echoed off the rafters of the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas: Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”

Twain’s 1997 hit is one of senior Ula Motuga’s favorite karaoke songs.

Motuga picked it as her walk-out song during a preseason basketball hype event at WSU.

The team began singing it before games to hype themselves up and it was not long before it became the team’s unofficial anthem.

After Motuga’s final home game at Beasley Coliseum (a 67-57 Senior Day win over Oregon State) the team gathered at midcourt to sing their favorite song and celebrate their seniors.

“We love hyping each other up and that’s kind of like our song,” Leger-Walker said on Senior Day. “I’m glad everyone’s picked up on that. Now, they’ve played it a couple of times after games, and it’s really fun.”

It even provided a moment of relief when the Cougs needed it most.

On Feb. 23 in Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, UCLA made the mistake of playing the Cougar’s song during a timeout late in the game.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge was focused on the next play but when she heard the song she looked at her team and said “just sing it.”

The moment allowed the Cougars to relax and play their best, Motuga said in a Spokesman-Review article.

After the impromptu karaoke in the huddle, the Cougs played their way to the program’s first road win against UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, 62-55.

After WSU beat Utah and sang Twain’s song, Twain noticed.

“Love this,” she tweeted while sharing the WSU women’s basketball accounts’ video of the team signing the song.

WSU filmed the moment Motuga showed her teammates, including Charlisse Leger-Walker, Twain’s tweet. Needless to say, the team was through the moon to be noticed by Twain.

After the Cougars punched their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship, upsetting third-seeded and No. 20 in the nation Colorado, Motuga invited “auntie Shania Twain” to come to Las Vegas Sunday to sing the song with Ethridge and the team in the locker room.

Unfortunately, Twain was in Switzerland over the weekend, but she took the time to ensure the team she would be rooting for them from afar.

When the Cougs got it done and hoisted the program’s first Pac-12 Championship and the school’s first in decades, Twain congratulated the Cougs with a play on her own opening lyric of “Let’s go girls,”

“Let’s Go Cougs! Congratulations to @WSUCougarWBB on the very deserved #Pac12WBB title win,” she tweeted.

Twain tweeted again.

“I’m honored to have been a small part of your journey!! @WSUCougarWBB @pac12 #letsgogirls,” she tweeted.

Twain will perform in Spokane April 28 and the team’s Twitter account is already proposing plans for what would surely be the greatest karaoke session of the season.

“Hey, we see that you’ll be in Spokane on April 28. We’re not that far from there… You feeling a duet with the Cougs that night in Spokane Arena????” the team tweeted.

As the Cougs prepare for their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, fans know which song they will choose to sing their way through the big dance.