Mar 8, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars guard/forward Sage Romberg (22) fouls Oregon State Beavers forward Deven Hunter (32) during the first half at Key Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington State community has probably already seen the awesome news that the Coug women received five top-25 votes in the USA-Today coaches poll this past weekend, marking the first time it’s happened since 1991/1992.
The real question is, how far will this go toward’s sneaking into the program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament bid? Probably not very, as the Pac is expected to get in the top five seeds and the fifth-seed USC was on the bubble with a much better record than WSU’s going into the Pac-12 Tournament. However with the Trojans winning the tournament, the Pac-12’s overall RPI should go up, not to mention obviously taking the Trojans from a No. 10-12 bubble seed to anywhere from a nice 5-9 draw.
That may leave room for a surprise and even though the Cougars weren’t the next team up in the regular season standings, they could surpass the No. 6 finishing Huskies. How? Well, the votes speak volumes obviously. But also the Huskies were defeated twice by Washington State earlier in the season, and then smoked by the 11th seeded Utes in the opening round last week. Meanwhile the Cougars downed both 10th-seeded Oregon and 2nd-seeded (20th ranked) Cal before succumbing to the size of eventual runner-up and 3rd-seeded Oregon State.
The Cal win marked the fourth time this season the Cougars beat a top-25 opponent, and they had come within OT of doing it to Cal just the week before in Berkeley.
WSU also has two other things going for it that could play a large role in their opportunity at the Big Dance; a respected head coach in June Daugherty and two young stars by the names of Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley. All of that and the fact that USC is no longer a bubble team should be an easy sell to at least heavily consider a 6th Pac-12 qualifier for this season’s biggest stage, even if it comes as a round of 68 elimination game.
That being said, while they would love to go dancing, this team is probably better suited for a run at a WNIT Championship with at least opening round games in Pullman. We’ll wait to see what transpires this weekend.