During his Tuesday Pac-10 teleconference, WSU coach Ken Bone said junior center DeAngelo Casto "spearheads" the rebounding effort as he is the primary defender against Williams and UW's 6-foot-9 senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning. The latter ranks sixth in the conference in rebounds per game at 7.7, but teammates Aziz N'Diaye (5.9) and Justin Holiday (5.3) also rank among the Pac-10's top 20 in that statistic. Only Casto, who is 12th at 6.3, is in the top 20 for the Cougars (14-6 overall, 4-4 conference).
"When guys are as good as Bryan-Amaning and Derrick Williams, we try and crowd them with other kids," Bone said.
PERHAPS EVEN MORE significantly, the No. 18 Huskies (15-4, 7-1) represent an opportunity for a quality win an opportunity for WSU to head into the midpoint of conference play with a winning Pac-10 record.
"We don't talk about it, but I think we all understand that a win over a ranked team would help," Bone said. "I don't think (UW) will drop out of the Top 25, or even Top 20, the rest of the season."
That was an opportunity WSU missed in a loss against the Wildcats, who were ranked No. 25. Junior wing Klay Thompson played arguably his poorest game of the season. He finished with just nine points on 4 of 16 shooting. The final miss could have sent the game into overtime.
But when Thompson struggles, Bone said the Cougars need more from their other players. Junior guard Faisal Aden hit just 2 of 7 shots and finished with five points against the Wildcats.
Bone hopes the extra day of rest — rivalry games often are played on Saturdays — is beneficial to his team. He noted that Aden (left knee) has played through pain all season and Thompson logged 38 minutes against both Arizona State and Arizona.
"I think physically more than mentally, we needed some time off," Bone said. "I'm fine with Sunday. I think where it catches up to you is the following week."
BONE SAID HE still talks with UW Lorenzo Romar — he was an assistant for the Huskies from 2002-05 — but not during the week when the teams play. He was asked about differences in how the fans at each school view the game and said it was different because UW views both Oregon and WSU as its top rivals.
He feels both he and Romar benefit from their knowledge of each other.
"I think it helps him to know my personality and it helps me to know his personality to know how they respond to certain situations during the game," Bone said.
But he said that only matters to a certain extent, and WSU must do a better job of rebounding and containing the Huskies in transition to end a four-game losing streak in the rivalry. UW leads the series 171-98.
"I think they are a better team than last year than when we played them," Bone said. "I think that maturity and experience helped out in some games last year."