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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

November 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Game Day: Gonzaga and Washington State look for respect

You know the problem with rap music? You can’t use much of it on a blog for a “family newspaper.” Even the name, say LMFAO, is an issue and the song “Shots?” Found a clean version…with a not so clean hand gesture that ruined everything.
Of course I’m twisting the meaning of the song, again, to make a fun point about the day’s slate of games. Washington State put up more shots (82) than Washington scored points (68) in the team’s opening game of the season. The Cougs have gone on to prove to be competitive this season, carrying a 4-3 record into Wednesday’s 8 p.m. rivalry with Gonzaga (3-1) at Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum. It’s WSU’s first home game of the season, last playing an exhibition matchup against Lewis-Clark State on Nov. 6.
Offense will be pivotal against a strong defensive Zags team looking for respect on a national scale. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, still proving to some they can play ball without PG Courtney Vandersloot. A needed campaign because No. 5 Stanford is the only team west of No. 19 Texas Tech that’s ranked in the Associated Press poll.
Sad. West Coast hoops can’t be that bad, which brought another theme song to mind. Eric B. & Rakim “I Ain’t No Joke.”

To steal a Dick Vitale term, the Zags don’t schedule a bunch of cupcakes. But this year’s nonconference lineup is lighter than past year’s, which may be why Gonzaga is slow to pick up national recognition. WSU improved its competition level, hosting San Diego State (Dec. 2) and No. 10 Louisville (Dec. 9) before playing at No. 17 Ohio State (Dec. 22) to conclude its nonconference schedule.
With a win against Wisconsin and experience against then-No. 12 Penn State, the Cougs could be ready for a competitive Zags team. The last WSU win in the series was the last time GU was in Pullman, 80-72 in December 2001. It was one of two wins for WSU that season, finishing 0-18 in then-Pac-10 play and 2-27 overall.
Wednesday’s tip, a double header with the Cougar men, will be another good gauge in showing where Gonzaga stands on the national level. Or whether, dare we say, WSU is making strides to be taken more seriously.
Also on the east side and in need of a good offensive showing is Washington (3-2). The Huskies play at Idaho (2-4) for the first time since 1981. UW averaged 48.5 points in a two-game trip to California, defeating UC Santa Barbara (46-37) and losing to SDSU (63-51).
A constant has been senior center Regina Rogers (17.2). First-year coach Kevin McGuff wants more of a balanced and consistent look offensively, though, working on that with his team at practices in Seattle on Monday and Tuesday before the trip to Moscow.
Nationally, No. 1 Baylor proved it’s not a joke, getting grimy to defeat No. 8 Tennessee 76-67 on Sunday in one of the best women’s hoops games I’ve seen in a while. The Bears (6-0) are one of 13 unbeaten top-25 teams. BU’s next test is against No. 2 Connecticut on Dec. 18.
The talker, however, is No. 24 Delaware’s matchup against Princeton (6-0) on Thursday. The Fighting Blue Hens (4-0) are undefeated behind the play of Elena Delle Donne, a versatile 6-foot-5 former UConn recruit. She scored 40 points in an upset of then-No. 11 Penn State earlier this season and has worked Delaware into the polls for the first time in school history.

Is it a fluke? Princeton is probably the last test until NCAA tournament play, assuming the Blue Hens advance that far.
Around the Pac-12, four teams are unbeaten in Arizona (5-0), Oregon (6-0), Oregon State (5-0) and newcomer Colorado (5-0). Aside from Arizona facing BYU (5-2) at the Hukilau Invitational, located in Laie, Hawaii on Thursday, the others don’t play any so-called tough competition this week. The winning should last until conference play. You can check out the Pac-12 schedule for this week here.
Locally, Covington’s Lindsey Moore continues to help Nebraska shine. The PG scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in a 66-63 comeback win at Florida State on Sunday. Moved to the Big Ten, the Huskers (6-0) play Georgia Tech (4-2) on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Like Gonzaga, Nebraska is aiming to break into national rankings. The Huskers received 55 votes (including mine) last week. A win against the Yellow Jackets could swing a few more its way.
Seattle University (2-4) hosts Long Beach State on Friday at 7 p.m. at Connolly Center.

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