Pac-10 preview: Washington State University

This is the second of a 10-part series previewing the Pac-10 basketball teams

When former University of Washington coach June Daugherty took over at Washington State University in 2007, many felt that this would prove once and for all whether or not she could coach. So far, that answer seems to be no.

Daugherty, who had a 191-139 overall record in 11 seasons with the Huskies, is 24-66 going into her fourth year in Pullman. The Cougars were a dismal 5-25 three years ago, 11-19 in 2008-2009, and dropped to 8-22 last year. What’s more, they don’t look to be getting out of the Pac-10 basement anytime soon.

Sure they’ve still got junior April Cook, who was last year’s leading scorer with 14 points per game, and junior Jazmine Perkins, who’s scoring average was 10.9. But freshman point guard Kiki Moore – a starter who averaged 12 per game – left the team and is now with Fresno State. Four players are injured and redshirting this year: Katie Madison, Ireti Amojo, Katie Grad and Jessica Oestreicher. One of the three freshmen – Sage Romberg – was ranked 87th in the 2010 class. The other two, Hana Potter and Brandi Thomas, were unranked.

On the bright side, WSU’s junior college transfer, Rosetta Adzasu is a well-regarded player. The 5-foot-5 point guard played at Yakima Valley Community College, which won the Eastern Region championship in their junior college division both years she was there.

Another upside for the Cougars is they’re returning four starters this season: Cook, Perkins, Rosie Tarnowski and Carly Noyes. Perkins and Tarnowski each averaged 10 blocks per game in 2009-2010.

But the team overall is thin. Perkins, at 5-foot-10, was the leading rebounder on the team last year, averaging a mere six per contest. Looking at the statistics of other players – some who have been with Daugherty for the duration of her tenure – you wonder how they could still have such low statistical averages.

Whatever the case, the Cougars are going to have to work hard on skill development this season, from top to bottom. Clearly Cook and Perkins are the team leaders, but ultimately they can’t carry the team on their backs and all be successful. This year will really show how well Daugherty and her assistants can develop players, because they’re starting from almost scratch.