It is really really coming down to this with Mother Nature. My letters of complaint have gone unnoticed, my protest signs on the Glenn Terrell Mall, completely and utterly ignored. So if you won't give me the winter weather I so desire, maybe I'll give you the same cold shoulder treatment she has given me. I just won't be acknowledging the weather any more during my last three months here. Until I see a snowflake on the ground, as far as I'm concerned, you aren't there. Windstorms will be met with casual indifference. You don't want this Mother Nature!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Cougar men's hoop team found themselves in the midst of another cold night of shooting and just a bad night overall, blowing an 18 point second half lead to Stanford and losing by two. They took a big lead into the half and play well in the early going in the second frame but allowed Stanford to shoot over 60 percent in the half and allowed them to get to the free throw line 16 times. Once again, with a lead on the road, the Cougars couldn't close it out even with a lead near the drinking age. Klay Thompson might've found his way out of his slump, finishing 7 of 16, including three of seven from beyond the arc on the evening and DeAngelo Casto seems to be emerging, finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
I know many people are discouraged by this result, myself included. Frankly, I thought this team had matured enough to get past a performance like this one. I was actually shocked that they blew a lead this big again. But another part of me almost expected it. After all, it's what I've come to expect with this team. In the second half, they played bad defense allowing the Cardinal to shoot as well as they did and shot poorly in the second half and didn't make shots when they needed to.
After their last loss of this fashion, I heard some people calling for head coach Ken Bone's job. Frankly, I don't think I've ever heard anything more absurd than that. As a collective unit of fans, we should've known losses like this were going to occur with a team that is statistically one of the youngest, if not the youngest, teams in the country. With a brand new coach that is getting used to his brand new set of players, it will take some time to adjust to a brand new offensive and defensive system as well as each other. These players aren't used to coach Bone and the head coach isn't used to his new set of players. This team will get there, I can guarantee you that and I think in a couple of years (assuming everyone sticks around) this could be the most talented team to ever come through Washington State. Frankly, I think the team is better off with Bone at this instant than they would've been with He Who Shall Not Be Named. This team will be successful. We just need to be patient with them. I consider this a rebuilding year and the fact that this team will likely finish with a winning record in that type of year is a testament to the talent of this team.
On the other side of the coin, congrats to the WSU women for grabbing their first conference win of the season away from home against a tough Arizona State opponent. Head coach June Daugherty said a few weeks ago this team was dangerously close to turning the corner to being really good and they turned a corner last Saturday, leaning on the small but obviously load-bearing shoulders of sophomore guard April Cook. She put away a career high 33 points and the Cougar defense kept feed her with 29 ASU turnovers and plenty of quick transition points. Tonight, the Wazzu women will have a chance today to do something they haven't done since 2001: win two conference games in a row when they face California - and defeating California is a definite possibility since the Cougars lost to the Bears by a mere seven points down at Haas Pavilion last month. Another hot shooting performance and this team could pick up another win.
Finally, another Cougar football player has been dismissed from the team. Cornerback Brandon Jones was arrested early Saturday morning for a DUI, his second run in with the police since Thanksgiving - and I completely agree with this dismissal. While I believe a minor in possession isn't grounds for severe punishment, there is a reason: an MIP puts only the arrestee in danger (most of the time). Meanwhile, getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated endangers your life and the lives of others. I realize many people (including a far number on this campus) believe the charges are roughly similar, I don't think they could be more different. A player like quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was simply intoxicated while underage and happened to be caught by the police. Jones made the decision to get behind the wheel of the car and although we don't know whether the cops caught him getting in and just putting the key in the ignition, he still made that decision. Because of that, I believe his ejection from this roster is justifiable. Getting behind the wheel of a car puts lives at risk; getting an MIP puts a little bit of your dignity at risk.
Last Week: 9-0 (Hallelujah!!!)
After how badly they played in Tucson, the Ducks fly with a limp wing home.
Arizona State 65, Oregon 54
Well, I can admit Oregon State was much worse than I thought.
Arizona 76, Oregon State 51
Well, the Huskies proved they can't win on the road.
Stanford 71, Washington 68
And Washington State proves they are in a bit of a slump.
California 78, Washington State 69
I can't decide this one. Both teams are an absolute enigma. Fine, I'll go with Ben Howland.
UCLA 65, USC 60
And the Ducks continue to do the unavoidable: stink.
Stanford 68, Oregon 56
Meanwhile California continues to do something incredibly important: win.
California 71, Oregon Sate 51
Well, Washington is back at home. So we know what that means.
Washington 78, USC 60
Call me crazy but I don't think Washington State can recover that easily, especially with a young team.
UCLA 68, Washington State 59
Obscure Pick of the Week: This wouldn't be quite the same upset as the Michigan football game but…..nevermind, not even close.
Appalachian State 65, Charleston 58
Dunderhead of the Week: Whoever bet against the Saints in the Super Bowl. Come on, it was destiny.
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The new year is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Men's & women's basketball, baseball, track & field and tennis, just to name a few, are coming up right around the corner. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.