THE OLD REFRAIN that Pullman is a tough place to recruit to doesn't add up for June Daugherty. In…
Daugherty unabashed assessing Cougs' future
Daugherty isn't predicting a championship for WSU this season. But the days of five wins per season -- the Cougs have averaged 4.75 per year in this decade -- are over.
"Cougar fans better get their season tickets because they've never seen the type of athleticism that's coming in here. It's unbelievable," she said, referring to the nationally touted recruiting class of seven that will be joining the program.
The incoming guards are lightning quick -- which will go far in curing one of the Cougs' biggest bug-a-boos last season: breaking the press -- and the posts can flat out play, she says.
The guards are Washington Player of the Year Katie Grad of Auburn-Riverside; California All-State honoree April Cook of Long Beach; All-Area pick Danielle LeNoir of Los Angeles; and Street & Smith's All-American Jazmine Perkins of Berkeley, Calif.
The posts are Sporting News honorable mention All-American Jessica Oestreicher of Redding, Calif.; Philadelphia Player of the Year Rosie Tarnowski; and Lexie Pettersen, a record-setting scorer and rebounder at Spokane's Shadle Park.
Oestreicher, at 6-foot-8, will be the tallest player in the Pac-10 and the tallest freshman in WSU history. WSU had one other player, Kathy Weber, who stood 6-8 but she was only 6-6 when she arrived on campus for the 1990-91 season.
"We're building something really special here," Daugherty says. "The egg is here -- and the chicken is going to rise soon ... I really encourage Cougar fans to follow us for a year and document it -- it's really going to happen. We're changing the culture and attitude about women's basketball. I'm hopeful the fans will embrace this team – and bring a neighbor with ‘em!"
This past season, home attendance climbed a whopping 363 percent over 2006-07. WSU averaged 1,824 fans per home, up from 503 the year before. Home attendance soared under Daugherty's tenure at both Boise State and Washington.
HOW MANY OF THE seven incoming freshmen will see immediate playing? "I hope they'll all have an opportunity to play right away," Daugherty says. "It depends on how hard they work in the weight room and on the track between now and the start of practices. That adjustment from high school to college is dramatic."
The youngsters will join a team that returns its leading scorer (All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick Katie Appleton), leading rebounder (Heather Molzen) and top assist person (Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention choice Kezia Kelly). Appleton and Molzen will be seniors in 2008-09 and Kelly a sophomore. Those three led the Cougs in minutes played last season, followed by two true freshmen who figure to be faster and stronger in 2008-09, Jasmine Williams and Katie Calderwood.
SINCE HER REBOUND from cardiac arrest one year ago this week, Daugherty has joined forces with The Hope Heart Institute, a renowned Seattle-area non-profit organization focused on cardiovascular research and education. Daugherty has been a powerful voice in The Hope's fight against heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of women in America.
This August, she'll be The Hope's featured attraction at youth basketball clinics in Renton, Tukwila and Seattle.
Why a youth basketball camp to help spread the gospel about a disease that mostly affects adults?
Because the percentage of overweight children and teens has more than doubled in the U.S. in the past 30 years. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, which in turns increases their risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
• Cougar sophomore-to-be Kezia Kelly, who doesn't turn 18 for another two weeks, has been picked for the junior national team this summer in her native New Zealand.
• Daugherty will have four slots available in her 2009 recruiting class and already has filled one of them. Germany's Ireti Amojo, who played as an exchange student at Auburn-Riverside with Katie Grad in 2006-07, verbally committed to the Cougs earlier this year. She's a 5-10 wing.
• Daugherty has been a popular dinner speaker this off-season, serving as the keynoter at sports banquets held at Auburn-Riverside High and Los Angeles' Narbonne High. Two of her incoming freshmen – Katie Grad and Danielle LeNoir -- hail from those schools. Daugherty also will be the featured attraction at the Colville High sports awards dinner tomorrow.
Cougfan.com Recommended Stories
4-star commit Joyner remains solid with WSU
WHEN AUSTIN JOYNER verbally committed to Washington State, he said he would sign with Wazzu as long as no major changes occurred to the staff. A little over a week ago, his area recruiter Eric Russell…Read More
WSU baseball fall report
THE COUGS’ TOP three hitters turned pro along with a key pitcher and the starting shortstop. Another starting pitcher graduated, as did a relief pitcher who led the team in wins. One season after…Read More
Recruiting: Pair of Hawaii OL set WSU visits
THE APPLE CUP is more than six weeks away but Nov. 29 is already circled on the calendar for Kapolei, Hawaii offensive tackle prospect Pesi Savea, who locked in his official visit to the Palouse on…Read More
Peyton Manning Breaks All-Time TD Record
Peyton Manning emerged alone atop yet another category in the NFL record book tonight vs the Niners, as he tossed touchdown #509 under the national spotlight of Sunday Night Football (NBC). (Photo…Read More
LenDale White escorted out of the Coliseum
Former USC and NFL running back LenDale White added tons of drama to what was a relatively quiet Homecoming weekend for the Trojans.Read More