Beyond the Box Score: moments that made Pullman sports

Some of the best WSU / Pullman sports stories as told through photos



WSU women’s basketball team dances to “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain after winning an NCAA women’s basketball game against Oregon State, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

The 2022–23 season saw a star junior guard from New Zealand lead the Cougars to a Pac-12 Championship, a high school senior set his school’s 3-point record and a transfer linebacker who found incredible success on the Palouse.

Let’s go girls

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.

The 2022–23 WSU women’s basketball team took the world’s moderate expectations for its success and threw them out the window of a Vegas high-rise on their way to the program’s first Pac-12 Championship and the school’s first women’s Conference Championship.

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored a Pac-12 Tournament record 76 points in four games over five days on her way to the Pac-12 Championship and the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.

As the regular season drew to an end, the team relied on one of fifth-year Ula Motuga’s favorite karaoke songs “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain. The Cougs sang it midgame when they beat UCLA in Pauley Pavilion for the first time ever and after they beat Oregon State on Senior Day in Pullman.

The song engulfed the Las Vegas arena after the Cougs conquered No. 3 Utah in the Pac-12 quarterfinals and punctuated their next two wins on the way to the Conference Championship.

“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.”

“I’m representing the Cougs”

WSU recognizes senior linebacker Daiyan Henley before the Apple Cup, Nov. 26.

Daiyan Henley had the best season by a WSU football player in perhaps five years as he is a projected second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Henley led Cougar football in tackles (106), with 54 solos and 52 assists and recorded four sacks.

“This is home for me, this is my atmosphere this is where I thrived, this is where I have thrived, this is where my best season as a linebacker has happened, so when it’s time for me to go the league, I’m representing the Cougs,” Henley said after his Pro Day in Pullman.

Jaedyn Brown’s record-breaking season

Pullman point guard Jaedyn Brown high-fives shooting guard Champ Powaukee after an alley-oop dunk during a high school basketball game against Rogers, Feb. 7, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Pullman High School boys basketball set the state on fire with an undefeated regular season, Greater Spokane League Championship and a deep playoff run. With sights set on a state championship, the Greyhounds’ tragic 3-point semifinal loss to Mark Morris prematurely ended their state hopes.

In a season in which star senior point guard Jaedyn Brown surpassed his own school 3-point record, the Greyhounds won third place at the WIAA 2A State Tournament.

Rodman returns

WSU guard DJ Rodman announces that he is returning to WSU men’s basketball for his 5th year before an NCAA men’s basketball game against Oregon, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

In his fourth year on the Palouse, one of head coach Kyle Smith’s first recruits had his best season yet. DJ Rodman recorded a career-best in points (9.6), rebounds (5.8) and assists (1.4). His expanded role on the team saw him start 30 games (20 more than his previous career high) and play over 30 minutes per game.

After a career-best season, Rodman announced to a packed Senior Day Beasley Coliseum crowd during his Senior Day speech that he would return for a fifth year on the Palouse.

“I’m coming back for one more year,” Rodman said before he gave Smith a big hug and was embraced by his teammates, who leaped up and down with joy.

Smiles in the dugout

WSU first baseman Jacob McKeon heads to the batter circle during an NCAA baseball game against Arizona, April 16, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU baseball is in the midst of what could be its most successful season under head coach Brian Green. With 17 games remaining, the Cougs have already won 22 games, five away from Green’s best season of 27.

The Cougs have been reinvigorated through a slew of successful transfers including centerfielder and lead-off hitter Jonah Advincula and first basemen Sam Brown, who lead the Cougs in batting average (.358 and .380 respectively) and have combined for 12 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Cougar volleyball stays united

The WSU volleyball team celebrates after a point during an NCAA volleyball game against Oregon, Oct. 7.

WSU volleyball made a program record seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2022. Head coach Jen Greeny has led the Cougs to success, the consistency of which will extend into 2023 as each of the five seniors who could return, will return in 2023, including Pia Timmer, Magda Jehlarova and Karly Basham.

“This is by far the closest team I’ve ever been on. Having this team dynamic has set such a good culture and atmosphere for this team,” Basham said in a Daily Evergreen article.