Basketball coach Ken Bone hopes to have leading scorer Faisal Aden and fellow guard Mike Ladd back in uniform for Sunday's 1 p.m. home game with Santa Clara. Bone lists both players as questionable.
Aden, fourth in the Pac-12 with 16.3 points per game, has missed two games with a concussion suffered against Grambling (La.) State last week. Ladd has sat out four games with a sprained thumb.
Two-year starter Abe Lodwick has yet to play due to a foot fracture, but Bone said the senior forward is showing improvement. Bone said he is guardedly optimistic Lodwick can debut Dec. 22 against Pepperdine in the Cougars' annual "home" game at Seattle's KeyArena.
Pepperdine represents the final tune-up before WSU kicks off Pac-12 play Dec. 29 against Oregon and Dec. 31 against Oregon State. Both games will be played in the Spokane Arena during Christmas break from classes in Pullman.
Despite their injuries, the Cougars are 5-4 with a season-high three straight wins. The previous five WSU teams started no worse than 5-0.
It wasn't easy getting to 5-4, but Reggie Moore made it happen when he drained a last-second, 19-foot jumper in front of the WSU bench area to down Idaho 66-64 Wednesday night in Moscow.
Cougars fans – many of them outfitted in "Crimson Invasion 2011" T-shirts (complete with an outline of the state of Idaho) that sold at WSU with a ticket to the game for $10 – serenaded Moore with chants of "Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" as he headed to the locker room.
"It's kind of surreal," Moore said afterwards. "My mom's here. My's aunt here. My best friends are here, so it's good to do it in front of them."
Across the globe DeAngelo Casto is not having nearly as much success as his former basketball team.
Casto, who passed up his senior year at WSU to turn pro this year, is coming off the bench for the last-place team in Turkey's top league.
The springy post player is averaging 14.1 minutes, 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.3 blocked shots for 0-8 Antalya.
Former WSU point guard Taylor Rochestie ranks fourth in France's top pro league with 18.8 points per game for Le Mans. Rochestie is second in assists with 7.4.
Former WSU center Aron Baynes is ninth in scoring (14.3) and third in rebounding (8.7) in the No. 1 pro league in Greece. Baynes plays for Ikaros.
Former WSU guard Derrick Low averages 12.8 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals for Dnipro in the Ukranian League, the top pro league in Ukraine.
The 5-4 WSU women's basketball team is off to one of its better starts in recent years despite opening with seven road games. There's still cause for concern, however.
For the second straight season, the Cougars have no one scoring in double figures. Carly Noyes is tops with just 8.9 points per game. The Cougars spread out playing time so much that Noyes leads the team with only 23.3 minutes per game.
The Cougars, who have suffered through 15 consecutive losing seasons, rank near the bottom of the Pac-12 in several statistics. However, WSU's field-goal shooting percentage has improved from 38.1 last year to 43.6; turnovers have dropped from 19.4 to 16.8; and points allowed have been reduced from 73.0 to 63.0.
The women play UC Riverside at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, following the men's game with Santa Clara.
WSU basketball fans aren't exactly packing Beasley Coliseum.
The holiday break is playing a factor but only USC (3,355 per game) is drawing worse than Washington State (3,683) among Pac-12 men's teams. The WSU women are averaging 1,666 – way up from last year's 608 mark -- but the women drew just 402 Sunday for San Diego State after last week's home opener with Gonzaga drew 2,930 with help from the preceding men's game.
Former WSU punter Reid Forrest still aspires to play in the NFL, but his back-up plan is up and running.
Forrest, who was released in training camp by Buffalo this fall in his first stab at the pros, has established a penny auction business at FatBidz.com. Ideally, bidders can purchase new merchandise for extremely low prices.
Former Coug basketballer Craig Ehlo is back at work at Eastern Washington after failing to land an assistant coach's job with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Ehlo, a first-year assistant at Eastern, was one of three finalists for the Cavaliers job. Ehlo was so confident he had the job that he cleaned out his office in Cheney, but Cleveland hired veteran NBA Development League coach Nate Tibbetts.
Ehlo played 14 years in the NBA, including seven with Cleveland.
Former WSU baseball star Mike Kinkade has been named manager of the Seattle Mariners' Rookie-class affiliate in Peoria, Ariz.
Kinkade, who played in the major leagues from 1998-2003, was the hitting coach for the Mariners' short-season Class A team in Everett last season.
Kinkade was a .360 career hitter at Washington State from 1992-95. He won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympics team in 2000.
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