The WSU women’s basketball team expects their defense to be challenged Thursday against UCLA and again on Saturday against USC.
The Cougars are ranked 11th in the Pac-12 standings with an overall record of 10-18, and 4-12 in Pac-12 play. The USC Trojans are ranked third in the conference with an overall record of 16-11 and 10-6 in the Pac-12. The UCLA Bruins are ranked fifth in the conference with an overall record of 14-13 and 9-7 in the Pac-12.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to finish in the top seven in the conference if we can win these last two,” Head Coach June Daugherty said.
The Cougar defense has been the team’s identity, Daugherty said. It has forced their opponents to adjust and the WSU team has had some great outcomes because of that.
“I think that these next two teams bring a whole different set of problems, if you will, for our defense,” Daugherty said.
The problems for the WSU defense are the opponent’s shooters, ball-sharing and running game, she said.
“They really like to get the speed up of the game and they like to feed off their rebounding and defense much like the way we do,” Daugherty said. “So it’s going to be a great test about who’s going to get back and defend the transition game and try to eliminate the touches once you get into a half court game.”
WSU has to make sure they communicate on the court, she said. Communication and rebounding has been a focus in practice this week. The team has also been improving on their offensive execution, spacing, timing and second or third shots.
“Well offensively, the last couple of games we’ve turned the ball over a lot so we’ve really focused on executing at a high level and not turning the ball over,” senior guard Rosetta Adzasu said.
Defensively the team has really worked on their guard play to ensure the opponents shooters will be covered, Adzasu said. The main focus in practice has been on pushing the ball, setting up the ball and rebounding, she said.
The team has been improving on going inside with the basketball, she said. Going inside is easier and provides a better flow for players to shoot the ball.
“I’d say my expectations are take care of the ball, get my team into an offense right away and make sure that everybody knows their assignment and play the scout efficiently,” Adzasu said. “That would be my only thing for this weekend and obviously play as hard as you can always.”