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Cougars try to rebound from tough loss

WSU is second best offensive rebounding team in conference

Borislava+Hristova+tries+to+keep+a+Utah+player+from+driving+to+the+basket+on+Jan.+7+at+Beasley+Coliseum.
Borislava Hristova tries to keep a Utah player from driving to the basket on Jan. 7 at Beasley Coliseum.

Borislava Hristova tries to keep a Utah player from driving to the basket on Jan. 7 at Beasley Coliseum.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | Daily Evergreen File

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | Daily Evergreen File

Borislava Hristova tries to keep a Utah player from driving to the basket on Jan. 7 at Beasley Coliseum.

AVERY COOPER, Evergreen reporter

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After losing their lead in the final seconds against Utah, WSU Women’s Basketball will try to bounce back when they face Stanford University on Friday.

Before losing to Utah, WSU (8-8, 1-3) led for almost 35 out of 40 minutes.

In order to win against Stanford (9-7, 3-1), senior guard and team captain Caila Hailey said she wants the Cougars to be more consistent.

“There can’t be spurts where we do well, and spurts where we don’t,” Hailey said. “We made mental mistakes that don’t usually happen. If we clean up those small mistakes, I think we’ll be a much better team.”

Hailey said that, to prepare for the Stanford game, the team’s emphasis has been getting rebounds.  The Utes grabbed two offensive rebounds in the final five seconds of Sunday’s game.

“We emphasized rebounding because I do think that cost us the game regardless of it was the last play or the first play,” Hailey said. “I think that we need to start taking rebounding more seriously. I think that it’s a mentality that we all need to take on.”

The women’s team will work with members of the men’s team in rebounding drills as a method of improving their own skills.

“They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re taller,” Hailey said. “If we can box them out, we can box anybody out.”

WSU is currently 11th in the Pac-12 rebounding margin. The Cougars average 15.3 offensive rebounds per game, good for second best in the conference, but average only 23.6 defensive rebounds per game, second worst in the Pac-12.

Fellow senior guard and team captain Pinelopi Pavlopoulou provided details on how WSU wants to execute better rebounding in the future.

“What we want to do is, when a shot goes up, find a player and hit them and get them out of the key, then go get the ball,” Pavlopoulou said. “From now on, we made a point in practice today that we are going to become finishers.”

Stanford junior forward Alanna Smith is second in the Pac-12 in blocks, averaging about 2.3 per game. WSU redshirt junior forward Nike McClure is currently 3rd in the Pac-12 in blocks.

As a shot blocker herself, McClure said the Cougars need to be ready to negate one of the Pac-12’s premier blockers.

“Offensively, if you’re going into the paint, shot fakes and getting contact [is] key,” McClure said. “You need to get players like that in foul trouble. It makes them nervous to do what they do. To get going offensively, we just need to take them out of their game by being tough.”

Stanford junior guard Marta Sniezek is in the top-15 in assists-to-turnover ratio in the conference. Hailey said the Cougars will focus on causing defensive chaos to disrupt Sniezek’s control.

“Think physical,” Hailey said. “Torture them on the outside and make sure that they don’t get those easy looks that they’re used to getting.”

Stanford is currently second in the Pac-12 in defensive field goal percentage; they do not allow a lot of open shots. To counter this, Pavlopoulou said the Cougs have to know what Stanford is doing in order to get open.

“I remember from previous years they would wait for us at our spots at times, or echo our plays when we call them,” Pavlopoulou said. “That tells us that we have to be able to read the defense and cut hard, set good screens, [use] bodies to get people open.”

Pavlopoulou wants the team’s mentality to shift in order to get their first Pac-12 road victory.

“We need to have the mentality of being a finisher instead of passive,” said Pavlopoulou. “We need to finish possessions, we need to finish quarters, the halves, everything.”

WSU will face Stanford at 6 p.m. Friday in Maples Pavilion. The game can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks.

 

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