clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ionescu’s Court: Can the Cougars beat the Ducks?

New, 7 comments
NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Spokane Regional-Oregon Ducks vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Today, at 7 PM on the PAC-12 Network, the Washington State Cougars will attempt to dethrone the reigning Queens of PAC-12 Basketball.

Can the Cougars take down the Ducks? All rise! Ionescu’s court is in session.

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 7-11 (2-5)

BEST WINS: Colorado, Washington, San Francisco, Boise State

WORST LOSSES: Oregon, Stanford

COMMON OPPONENTS: Utah State, Saint Mary’s, Washington,

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • L (1/6) Oregon 58-98
  • L (1/11) Utah 68-72
  • W (1/13) Colorado 74-48
  • L (1/18) California 63-77
  • L (1/20) Stanford 64-85

SUMMARY: The Cougars are in the middle of an up and down season. Wazzu got off on the wrong foot by losing to Utah State and then Saint Mary’s, two teams that Oregon beat by a combined score of 167 to 113.

Their best stretch took place from 11/24 to 12/1, where they beat Jacksonville State, San Francisco, then Boise State. Out of Wazzu’s seven wins, the victory over the Broncos is probably their best considering Boise State’s current 15-2 record.

PAC-12 play has not been kind to the Cougs this season, with losses to every conference foe they’ve played besides cellar-dwellers Washington and Colorado. Washington State currently has three wins away from home, and is ranked 93rd in RPI.

With 11 games left in the regular season and a 2-5 record in conference, Wazzu will likely need to win the PAC-12 tournament if they want to participate in the big dance. A signature win over #5 Oregon would certainly build their conference as they try to gain some momentum before season’s end.


CONFERENCE COMPARISON*

  • COUGARS score 67.9 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 60.8
  • COUGARS shoot 43.6% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow 39.5%
  • COUGARS shoot 34.1% from three
  • DUCKS allow 29.5%
  • COUGARS average 33.4 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.2
  • COUGARS allow 76.0
  • DUCKS score 86.2 PPG
  • COUGARS allow 45.8% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot 50%
  • COUGARS allow 33.6% from three
  • DUCKS shoot 40.8%
  • COUGARS allow 39.4 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 39.7
  • COUGARS average 13.9 assists/ 12.6 turnovers

(*all stats are from conference play)


PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR

Borislava Hristova

6’0, Forward, rJunior

Wazzu’s baller from Bulgaria is the third best scorer in the PAC-12 with 21.3 points per game. She plays physically but also possesses a shooter’s touch, and can stretch the floor by draining a triple if you forget about her (28.1% from three-point range.)

Borislava scored her season-low last week against #6 Stanford, but has shown up big in losses to elite teams - 21 points against Cal, 13 points against Oregon and Utah, 24 points against Oregon State, and a career-high 38 points against Washington.

Oregon’s elite offense will challenge Washington State’s starters, but if Hristova makes the shots that are presented to her, she has a real chance at finding a lot of points.

Maria Kostourkova

6’4, Center, Senior

Oregon’s length has provided them a huge advantage against most of their challengers this season. Wazzu’s Maria Kostourkova is one of two Cougs over six feet tall and will need to have a big game on the boards against the Ducks, which is more than possible considering her 8.8 rebounds per game are good enough for 5th in the PAC.

Earlier this season, when the Cougs were dealt their 98-58 loss at Matt Knight Arena, Kostourkova tallied just 4 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. She’ll obviously need to fare better this time if she wants her team to pull the upset.



IONESCU’S VERDICT

At their best, Washington State has been an average team able to beat below-average competition, which certainly isn’t enough against Oregon. Just like against Arizona, Oregon will attempt to limit Wazzu’s best playmaker and force someone else to make a shot.

THREAT LEVEL:

2 out of 16 triple-doubles