Youthful WSU women’s basketball ready to face the Lions

From staff reports

The WSU women’s basketball team takes on Loyola Marymount University in their first regular season game of the season.

The Cougars are coming off an exhibition win over the University of Alaska Anchorage on Sunday.

Junior guard Pinelopi Pavlopoulou and sophomore forward Borislava Hristova led the Cougars to an 81-73 victory over the Seawolves on Sunday, each scoring five points in the game. Pavlopoulou was a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc in the contest. Sophomore guard Alexys Swedlund following closely behind with 12 points.

Sophomore center Maria Kostourkova was the leading rebounder in the game for WSU with nine boards. Hristova enters the season having been recognized as a member of the All-Pac-12 and the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team last season.

Loyola Marymount opened its season with a victory over The Master’s College on Tuesday and enters Pullman looking to avenge a loss from two seasons ago.

WSU and LMU last met in 2014, when the Cougars brought an 87-60 win home from Los Angeles. Now-graduated guard Tia Presley was the leading scorer for WSU with 16 points in the game.

The two teams both struggled in their respective conferences in the 2015-2016 season. The Cougars finished with a 5-13 record in Pac-12 play, tallying their wins over Arizona, the University of Southern California (USC) and two against Colorado. USC later eliminated WSU in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament with a 77-73 victory in Seattle.

The LMU Lions finished with a similar conference record, going 6-12 in the West Coast Conference (WCC). LMU won its first game in the WCC Championships against the University of Portland, but fell to Saint Mary’s 85-71 the following day in the second round.

This seasons Cougars are a relatively young team, with 10 of 14 players being freshman or sophomore. The team has only one returning senior, forward Ivana Kmetovska.

At the same time, the youthful roster is nothing new for WSU, who’s 14-player team last season had nine underclassmen, and will look to build off of a narrow exhibition win with a convincing performance against the Lions.

The teams tip off at 7 p.m. on Friday in Beasley Coliseum.