OPINION: WSU basketball schedule predictions

Cougars face tough opponents in, out of conference this season



Then-redshirt sophomore forward Borislava Hristova drives to the basket with USC’s then-senior guard Sadie Edwards guarding her on Jan. 26 2018 in Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars face USC twice in conference play during 2019-2020 season.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

The Pac-12 Conference for women’s basketball is definitely superior in terms of postseason success than the Pac-12 conference for men’s basketball last year.

Six teams reach the field of 64 for the Women’s March Madness: Oregon and Stanford were two seeds, UCLA was a six, Arizona State was a five, California was an eight and Oregon State was a four.

The Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll has WSU finishing 10th in the conference, ahead of California and Colorado. I think WSU will finish eighth in the conference with 8-10 record in the conference and 17-18 record overall on the season. The Cougars play 14 teams who were in the NCAA tournament last year.

Last year, WSU women’s basketball finished 4-14 in the conference and 9-21 overall. Redshirt senior Borislava “Bobi Buckets” Hristova said she wants WSU to get an NCAA tournament bid. The Cougars’ non-conference schedule may work out for them, but what about in conference?

WSU women’s basketball opens the season at home in an exhibition game against Beijing Normal University on Halloween, then host Pepperdine University and BYU. BYU was a seven-seed in the last year’s tournament and looks to have another tournament worthy season. WSU will start 2-1 in the season, losing to BYU at home.

WSU faces Boise State and California State University-Northridge before heading to the Virgin Islands. BSU was a 13-seed in the tournament last year and almost upset the Oregon State Beavers. Heading to St. Thomas, WSU will have a 3-2 non-conference record.

In St. Thomas, the Cougars must face the defending national champions the Baylor Lady Bears along with South Carolina and Indiana. South Carolina was a four seed last year and Indiana was a 10 seed. This is hard, but I don’t see the Cougars winning a game, just because of the level of difficulty.

After their trip to the Virgin Islands, WSU has three-consecutive home games against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Gonzaga and UC Irvine. They should win all 3, bringing their record to 6-5 before going to Miami.

In their final non-conference games, WSU goes to Miami to face both Southern University and the University of Miami. Southern made the tournament as a 16 seed last year and Miami as a four seed. WSU just had the back luck of the draw, playing former tournament teams for most of their non-conference slate. WSU will finish 6-7 heading into Pac-12 play.

WSU opens Pac-12 play against the University of Washington at home, followed by three road games against Stanford, California and Washington. Last year, WSU beat UW both at home and on the road, and they will repeat that success this year. However, with Stanford, on the road, it will be difficult. WSU will start out 3-1 in conference play, having a 9-8 overall record.

WSU has two home games against the University of Arizona and Arizona State, followed by road games against Southern California and UCLA. Both UCLA and ASU were tournament teams from last year, and Arizona is looking for a bounce-back season after finishing 7-11 in the conference. I see WSU winning one of four games, having a 4-4 conference record, 13-12 overall.

The Cougars then have four straight home games, against California, Stanford, University of Colorado and the University of Utah. WSU will split the California and Stanford games, and the Colorado and Utah games, going 6-6 in the conference and 15-14 overall.

WSU then plays ASU and Arizona on the road, followed by Southern California and UCLA at home. Like last time, I see WSU going 2-2 in this slate, because of the high level of competition, and having their conference record be 8-8 and overall record to 17-16.

The Cougars finish the season on the road against the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, two of the top teams in the conference. Both teams are very good and proved so in the tournament.

As a Cougar, I hope WSU has a successful season, but with tough competition in the Pac-12, it will be hard for Bobi Buckets and the rest of her team to make it to the NCAA tournament.