Edmondson's absence loomed large for CouGals

I LOVE BOX scores. The expression of an entire game in just a few square inches. In hoops, points and rebounds are the last numbers I look at. I prefer the nitty gritty, like minutes played, turnovers-to-assists, and field-goal accuracy. I wasn’t able to catch the live stream of Washington State’s last-second WNIT loss to EWU, but I did devour the box score. And this is what screamed out at me.

WSU junior guard Taylor Edmondson didn’t play in the game.

After a little digging I discovered that Edmondson (pictured above) hasn’t played in a game since Feb. 26, when she logged six minutes against UCLA before going down with a concussion that has sidelined her ever since.

In my defense, I have to say it’s easy to overlook Edmondson for the simple reason that she plays the same position as two of the finest guards -- Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley -- who have ever donned the crimson and the gray.

But on a night when WSU shoots a woeful 11.8 percent on 17 shots from 3-point range against a third-place team from the Big Sky Conference with lesser athletes than the Cougs, my box-scoring self is going to search out the name Taylor Edmondson.


Because Taylor is a good 3-point shooter. I know that, because I like to read box scores.

She’s not Klay Thompson good, but at 32.4 percent accuracy she’s pretty close to on par with DaVonte Lacy. In fact, she makes Galdeira -- a 26-percent shooter from downtown -- look like a piker in comparison. And Galdeira took 61 more trey attempts this season – 220 total – than the second-most prolific long-ranger on the team, Presley, who is a 30 percent shooter from out deep.

Wednesday’s box score against EWU revealed that Galdeira was 2 for 9 from long distance while Presley was 0 for 3, and Louise Brown, Caila Hailey and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou a collective 0 for 5.

Two for 17 from the arc is about all you need to know about why the Cougars lost on their home court, 67-65, to their neighbors from Cheney.

They needed Edmondson.

Much has been made of the season-ending loss of Cougar center Shalie Dheensaw back in January. And it was indeed devastating to the Cougs' hopes for an NCAA tourney berth.

Wednesday, though, the absence of the unheralded and overshadowed Edmondson is what stood out.

I’ve heard a fair amount of grumbling from Cougar fans about the loss. Topics have ranged from inconsistent energy, scattered offense, overconfidence, inexperience in the post, poor free-throw shooting, so-so coaching decisions, etc. etc.

I’ve also heard some sky-is-falling forecasts because Presley is graduating.

To that I say nonsense.

Remember that Galdeira -- probably the finest hooper in WSU women’s history -- will be back next year for her senior season. So will forward Mariah Cooks, who has the potential to average a double-double, and reigning assists queen Dawnyelle Awa. In addition, there’s Brown, Pavlopoulou and Hailey, who showed major promise this season. Plus, a healthy 6-foot-3 Nike McClure will be in action as a second-year freshman and rising 6-3 junior Ivana Kmetovska continues to improve.

And then there's Edmondson, the 5-foot-11 Pride of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Make no mistake, she was missed in a big way against EWU on Wednesday. This season, Edmondson averaged 18.5 minutes, 5.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. She was also fourth on the team in assists. And, as noted earlier, she’s a Lacy-esque shooter from downtown.

Mind you now, that production came while playing behind Galdeira and Presley, who averaged about 30 minutes a game each.

Reading box scores won’t tell you the entire tale of a ball game, but from where I’m sitting, Edmondson’s absence Wednesday -- and her return to action next season -- tell me a helluva lot about where women’s hoops at WSU is headed right now.

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