Women’s basketball starts journey

WSU to play rematch with team it beat in tournament last season


JORDAN MAXWELL | Daily Evergreen file

Sophomore forward Kayla Washington sheds her guard as she prepares for a shot during the WSU vs. Master’s University game on Nov. 1. WSU won 95-57.

RYAN MOSHER, Evergreen reporter

The Cougars will travel to California for the first three games of the season, beginning with University of California, Davis. WSU faced the Aggies only three times before, and the Cougs lead the all-time series 2-1.

Both WSU and UC Davis competed in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, last season. In fact, the Aggies were eliminated in the third round by the Cougars. UC Davis finished the regular season with a 25-8 record, and 14-2 in Big West Conference play.

Head Coach June Daugherty said that she has immense respect for UC Davis, and the Cougars were fortunate to beat the Aggies in the Sweet 16 of the WNIT.

“We’re looking forward to getting out at UC Davis and playing with a lot of energy,” Daugherty said.

Finishing seventh in the Pac-12 standings, WSU narrowly missed the NCAA tournament. However, the Cougars advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT, before being defeated by Georgia Tech.

Entering this season, the Cougars recently beat The Master’s University 95-57 in an exhibition game. WSU took down the Mustangs in Beasley Coliseum with 100 shots and 40 points off turnovers. After the Mustangs tied the score 4-4 early in the first quarter, WSU went on to build a lead it would hold the entire game.

“I think this group is very unique in the fact that they have come to work every day hungry about getting better,” Daugherty said. “They don’t seem to, at this point, pay any attention to the scoreboard — which is a good thing.”

Friday’s game against UC Davis marks the regular season return of redshirt sophomore forward Borislava “Bobby” Hristova, redshirt junior forward Louise Brown, and sophomore guard Chanelle Molina. Those players have not shared the court since Dec. 2, 2016, when the team beat San Diego University.

UC Davis begins season play after a 77-34 exhibition win against Academy of Arts University.

“We’re really excited, we’ve had a very good summer training and a couple exhibition games under our belt,” Daugherty said. “[We] feel really good about where we’re at right now as a team. We’re ahead of schedule I think on both ends of the court, offensively and defensively.”

WSU women’s basketball faces UC Davis at 7 p.m. Friday in California. Live audio is available through WSU Athletics’ website. After Friday’s game, the Cougars will face Saint Mary’s University on Sunday.

“This is a team with tremendous depth and talent and we really look forward to getting out there and playing against somebody else now, and to really test our systems on both offense and defense,” Daugherty said. “Big week in front of us. Obviously the old coach cliche: We got to take them one at a time.”