Cougs Lose Coach And Win Game


Play within yourself, within the coach’s game plan, with focus and effort. Those are the elements required for athletic success.

Washington State (13-18) women’s hoops executed all of those elements and more Thursday in their Pac-12 Tournament opener in Seattle against the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-19). The final score was 48-41, but doesn’t reflect the tale of two halves.

No question the biggest story line for the Cougs relates to their leader, Coach June Daugherty. Coach Daugherty was on the sideline for WSU, but it was Mike not June taking charge of managing the game.

At about the time the opening tipoff between WSU and ASU was taking place in Key Arena, Coach June was successfully undergoing emergency surgery in a Seattle hospital. Good news for the Daugherty family, WSU basketball and Cougar Nation.

"“Well, right after shoot-around today, (June) asked the doctor (because) she was in pain…to come look at her. Our team doctor, Dr. (Dennis) Garcia, came up, examined her and said, ‘I think it might be appendicitis. And I think you need to go to the hospital to check and make sure that’s what it is.’ At that point, I went and got a taxi, and I was going with her until she told me not to. And I just do whatever she says. She said, ‘No, you stay here with the team in case I have to stay at the hospital.’ So I did that and she said, ‘Win the game’, and so we did that.” – WSU Coach Mike Daugherty"

WSU players were able to compartmentalize their emotions and dedicate themselves to playing good, solid basketball.

The first half was dominated by the defense of both squads. Arizona State converted just 26.9% of their attempts while the Cougs were colder than a winter day on the Palouse. Yes, WSU shot an even lower percentage than the Sun Devils.

With balls clanking off the rim or not even catching iron, the opening 20-minutes was a test of will for both ball clubs. Neither team showed frustration and worked hard at both ends of the court.

Arizona State strutted into their locker room at halftime boasting a 18-13 lead. That’s right. The two teams combined for a walloping 31 points.

There were no visible significant adjustments made by either team at intermission.

"“What we told them at halftime was we are playing great defense. The toughest team is going to win this game, and you know, if you guys just stay with it, the ball will start going in.” – WSU Coach Mike Daugherty"

The difference in efficiency for Washington State to the begin the second half was something to behold. It only took 4-minutes for the Cougars to take the lead at 27-25. The gals in the white uniforms with crimson accents would never trail the rest of the way.

Freshman phenom Lia Galdeira was the catalyst to get the Cougar offense on track. It was her 3-pointer which gave WSU their first lead of the game and her confidence which seemed contagious for the Cougar offense.

Regardless of the five players Coach Mike put out on the floor, there was outstanding effort and focus by Washington State. That proved to be the difference in this one.

"“Just playing with patience, that’s what works best for me… I’m able to kind of just see where my defender is and make whatever move I need to… I had to do it for my team.” – WSU freshman Mariah Cooks"

Advancing to the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament for the second consecutive year, the Cougs will take on No. 1 seed Stanford at 6pm Friday night in Key Arena. The game will be telecast on the Pac-12 Network.

Will Coach June Daugherty be back on the sidelines less than 24-hours after surgery?

"“…they say the procedure is one that you can go home the next day, and knowing my wife, if she can comeback to the hotel, she’ll be on the sideline tomorrow.” – WSU Coach Mike Daugherty"

Washington State Notes
– WSU blocked nine shots, tying for the third-most in single-game history, the most by any Cougar team in conference tournament play.
– This Cougar team broke the school record for blocks in a season, eclipsing last season’s previous mark of 105. WSU now owns 114 blocks on the season.
– Lia Galdeira led WSU with 17 points on 7-15 shooting, adding 5 rebounds and 3 steals
– Freshman Dawyelle Awa played her best game as a Coug scoring 10 points, securing 4 boards and grabbing 2 steals in 28-minutes of play
– Freshman Mariah Cooks turned in a nice performance with 8 points, 4 rebounds and a steal in just 17-minutes of playing time
– Washington State won all three contests with ASU this season including conference play and the Pac-12 tourney