Packing up the SUV and heading to the Palouse this morning. Because of the threat of snow this weekend, Washington flew Friday night in preparation of its rivalry game with Washington State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. It’s the beginning of a three-game road trip for the Huskies, next week’s matchups in the Bay Area against No. 4 Stanford and California looking just as difficult as the Apple Cup battle.
“It’s a challenge every night,” UW coach Kevin McGuff said. “There are no easy games. But that’s what I like about this league. As tough as it can be sometimes, it can be exciting. We get to compete with some of the best teams in the country on a weekly basis.”
UW center Regina Rogers, who’s a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, made the trip, the last for the senior class. She didn’t practice this week, so even if she’s able to play, it’ll be off the bench.
Rogers’ twin brother attends WSU but it was all Huskies in her household, growing up the daughter of UW football and basketball star Reggie Rogers.
Whenever I hit the road for Pullman, I’m always reminded of my father and the trips we’d make during his three-decade long coaching career. A tradition was him quizzing us on NCAA school’s mascot names and locations while humming the tune “On the Road, Again,” by Willie Nelson. An odd quirk I still do to pass the time as I travel through the beautiful Palouse.
The goal is to make it across the mountain for the UW-WSU game. But there’s another rivalry 90-minutes North in Spokane. No. 23 Gonzaga (15-2, 4-0 WCC) hosts St. Mary’s (13-5, 4-1) at 2 p.m. and I’m trying to be one of the approximate 6,000 in attendance.
The Zags are on a 10-game win streak and have won the past 17 against the Gaels, including a 72-46 decision in the WCC championship game last season. Of course that was with prized PG Courtney Vandersloot leading GU.
Transfers Taelor Karr (Kansas State) and Haiden Palmer (Oregon State) are still complementing senior post Kayla Standish well in conference play, however, so expect the winning to continue Saturday.
Locally, Seattle University (10-7) returns to Connolly Center after a rough loss at Fresno State last week. The Redhawks gave up 15 three-pointers in the 71-61 defeat.
SU hosts Chicago State (2-14), lossing to the Cougars on the road 59-53 last season. A win is critical for the Redhawks because it heads on the road, again, to play four of its upcoming five games.
On television, you of course have the UW-WSU game on ROOT Sports. The Pac-12 will also be highlighted with an interesting matchup between Cal (12-5, 3-2) at Utah (8-7, 1-3) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (PST) on ROOT.
Nationally, CBS Sports Network has been doing a good job airing women’s hoops. The historic Army (8-9, 2-0 Patriot League) versus Navy (8-8, 1-1) game will air at 9 a.m. (PST) on Saturday and is a reported sellout for Alumni Hall in Annapolis, MD. Airing at the same time on ROOT Sports is the rivalry game that’s more somber between Oklahoma (10-4, 2-1 Big 12) and Oklahoma State (9-3, 1-2).
At 1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network will broadcast the Mountain West Conference home-opener for TCU (7-9, 0-1) against Colorado State (5-11, 1-0). The Horned Frogs haven’t lost to CSU since 1999, a span of 13 games.