The 11th ranked Oregon State Beavers Women’s basketball team kicks off PAC-12 play when they take on the Washington State Cougars in game 13 of the season. Tip-off is slated for 7 PM PST on Friday, January 4th. Check out the team’s Twitter page for ways to follow along live. Let’s take a closer look at the Cougars.
Washington State (6-6 overall, 1-0 conference)
Last season: 10-20 overall, 3-14 in PAC-12 (10th), no postseason
Washington State comes into Gill Coliseum with a .500 record, but having won five of their last seven games, including their PAC-12 opener at rival Washington. Their season started out rough with back-to-back home losses, including one against common opponent Saint Mary’s who was ousted by Oregon State 33 points. The Cougars will at least have any pre-conference butterflies out of the way since they beat the aforementioned Huskies last week.
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge is in her first year on the Palouse after a productive four years at Northern Colorado where she took the Bears to the NCAA Tournament last year. The former Big Sky Coach of the Year has her work cut out for her in Pullman where the Cougars have just one winning season in the last 22 years.
If you think the Beavers will steamroll the Cougars, I feel inclined to remind you that a shorthanded Washington State team took Oregon State to the brink in Pullman during these teams’ last matchup. Because of violation of team rules, Washington State suspended three of their starters against Oregon State, but still managed to take an 11 point lead into halftime. It took a couple of literal last second free-throws by Katie McWilliams to win the game in overtime.
Who to watch
#45 - Borislava Hristova, Junior Forward
The junior from Bulgaria earned PAC-12 Player of the Week honors after dropping a career high 38 points on the Huskies last week. Hristova has been a scorer from the get-go for Washington State throughout her career, averaging at least 14 points per game in all four of her seasons (she gained a medical redshirts after playing nine games in one season). So far she is averaging 23.2 points per contest, good for 11th in the country.
#11 - Chanelle Molina, Junior Guard
Molina averages 5.7 assists per game and is second on the team for points at 15.7 points. If you happen to hear the name Molina but don’t see number 11 on the floor, it may be due to the fact that she has two younger sisters on the team in Celena and Cherilyn that followed her from Hawaii.
#20 - Maria Kostourkova, Senior Center
The Lisbon native, Kostourkova, has been making an impact in her senior year by hauling nearly double digit rebounds per contest at 9.4. In the Cougars non-conference game against Nebraska earlier this season, Kostourkova hauled in an impressive 19 boards while blocking five shots.
In the last meeting between these two teams, a short-handed Washington State team was able to take Oregon State the distance, but in this matchup, that shouldn’t be the case. Hristova will get her points, but it will take her well over 20 shots to get them. Look for the Beaver defense to keep the Cougar shooters in check and hold this team to the mid-thirties shooting percentage for a comfortable win to start PAC-12 play.