January 26, 2017

Up next: On the road to Washington

The Cardinal heads north this weekend for its only regular-season encounter with the Washington schools.

First up are the Washington State Cougars on Friday evening at 8:00. The Cardinal will practice for this game at Central Valley High School, 13 miles east of the Davenport Hotel, before heading to Pullman for the game. Central Valley High is where Stanford's 2018 recruits Lacie and Lexie Hull play ball.

Then it's on to Seattle to play the University of Washington Huskies early Sunday evening at 5:00.

The media coverage for both games is:

  Washington State Cougars

Ten-year head coach June Daugherty set a very challenging schedule, as she always does, for her young multi-national team. Their schedule has been ranked between the fifth and ninth toughest in the nation all season.

And now the Cougars have lost their three top weapons to injuries.

First, junior forward Louise Brown, the Cougars' leading rebounder (6.9 rpg) and third-best scorer (10.2 ppg) suffered a season-ending foot injury on December 4th.

Four days later, sophomore forward Borislava Hristova, who was the Cougars' leading scorer last season (16.7 ppg) and this season (14.7 ppg), suffered a season-ending foot injury in the game against Gonzaga.

Then two weeks ago in Tempe, standout freshman guard Chanelle Molina tore her ACL. Molina had been named the PAC-12 Freshman of the Week twice. She averaged 12.8 ppg on 52% shooting from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. She was also the Cougars' primary ball handler with 3.7 assists per game and a 1.8 assist/turnover record.

In that same game at Arizona State, freshman guard Cameron Fernandez, who came off the bench for about 11 minutes per game, suffered a severe concussion and is out indefinitely.

The Cougars have done remarkably well in spite of the tough schedule and overwhelming injuries. They finished their non-conference slate with a 5-6 record that included close losses against No. 5 Maryland and No. 18 Kentucky.

They opened Pac-12 play with consecutive losses to Washington and Oregon State, then strung together three straight wins against Oregon, UCLA and USC. Then came the disastrous trip to Arizona, where they lost to Arizona State and then Arizona (by just one point). Last week they lost to Washington for the second time this season.

Now down to a nine-player roster, the Cougars are depending on junior Pinelopi Pavlopoulou at the guard position. She was the starting point guard on Greek national teams for several years. She averages 6.3 points and 2.6 assists with a 1.7 assist/turnover ratio.

The Cougars' current leading scorers are spohomore guard Alexys Swedlund (9.2 ppg), senior forward Ivana Kmetovska (7.8 ppg) and junior guard Caila Hailey (7.0 ppg).

Here are Washington State's roster and season statistics.

  University of Washington Huskies

You probably know that senior guard Kelsey Plum is chasing the all-time NCAA record for career points. Plum already has 3,070 points and is averaging 31.0 ppg this season. With a possible 19 games left to play, she's on target to hit 3,659, well beyond the current record of 3,393 held by Jackie Stiles (Missouri State 1998-01).

Plum takes more shots (19.7 per game) than anyone in the nation and makes, on average, 53% of them. But she can be restrained. In Washington's only two losses this season, Notre Dame held her to 37% and Oregon State held her to 35%.

The Huskies' second weapon is senior center Chantel Osahor. She's the top rebounder in the nation with an average of 14.7 and just set a new Pac-12 record rebounds/game with 30 against WSU. She averages 15.5 ppg, 28% of them with her unique flat-footed three-pointers. She's had double-doubles in all but three games this season – the most in the nation.

Washington has two more almost-double-digit scorers: Junior guard Natalie Romeo (9.6 ppg) and freshman guard Aarion McDonald (9.1 ppg)

As if that isn't enough, there should be great home team support for this game. UW and Seattle radio station KOMO are promoting a Pack the House campaign.

However, I expect the Cardinal to be prepared and really fired up for this one, eager to avenge their two bitter losses to the Huskies last season: 65-73 in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal and 76-85 in the NCAA elite eight.

Here are Washington's roster and season statistics.

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