Seen & Heard on Planet Coug: From hoops to football, a bit of everything

IF YOU’RE NOT following the Cougar women’s basketball team right now you’re really missing out. They are playing truly inspired, scrappy basketball. With their WNIT Elite Eight win over Iowa yesterday, the Cougs have won six of their last seven games.

Three of their four WNIT victories have come on the road. And the next game — a Final Four battle Wednesday against Georgia Tech — is on the road too. The Cougs will tip in Atlanta at 4 pm Pacific time. And get this: it will be their fourth time zone in the last five games.

Sunday’s defeat of the Hawkeyes resulted in three notable milestones. Sophomore Alexys Swedlund broke Tricia Lamb’s (1997-2001) school record for most treys in a season (70), while the team set new program marks for steals and assists in one season. Both of those team records dated back to the 1980s.

By the way, if you caught the audio stream of the game on, you'll know that play-by-play man Steve Grubbs did a whale of a job calling the action. He's knowledgeable and energetic and truly paints a great picture for listeners.

THREE OLD COUGS HAVE BEEN in and around NFL talk in recent days.

The official website of the Philadelphia Eagles says Destiny Vaeao is in position to become a significant part of the team’s defensive tackle picture in 2017, writing: “Truth is, and not many were aware of it, Vaeao made a bit of an impact in his rookie season. Vaeao played 26 percent of the snaps and had a couple of quarterback sacks and 19 total tackles. The coaches like him very, very much. Vaeao is listed as 299 pounds on his 6-feet-4 frame, so there is room to fill out and add strength.”

Sports Illustrated recently ran an article about how technology is changing the process of scouting players for the NFL and Robert Barber is featured for his NFL preparations at Sparta Science, an athletic performance-training center and software company near San Francisco. Sparta combines standard drills with cutting-edge technology to improve an athlete’s reaction time, quickness, strength and power. The bottom line? Combine the tech minds in the Silicon Valley with NFL scouts and you'll have better evaluations of a player's readiness for knocking heads on Sundays.

Meanwhile, Gabe Marks recently joined The Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas/Fort Worth for some conversation and covered an array of random topics.

Listening to it, I couldn’t help but think that Mike Leach has rubbed off on ol’ No. 9, who seemed much more interested talking about aliens, commercials, Twitter and interacting with “haters” than football. Whichever NFL team drafts Gabe will certainly provide its beat writers with many thoughtful and passionate interviews.

WSU’S SOCCER TEAM SIGNED signed 14 new players last month, including two who are already on campus for team sessions and classes: forward Elyse Bennett from De Pere, Wisc., and midfielder Jamie Rita from Burien/Highline High.

Here is some video of the work the team has been putting in this spring:


The Cougs are looking for a big rebound this fall after a disappointing 8-9-2/3-7-1 campaign in 2016. The Cougs did end last year on the right note, however, downing Washington to extend the Cougs’ unbeaten streak against the Dawgs to 13. WSU will be led by sophomore Morgan Weaver, who led the Cougars in goals and points last season.

The action on the field isn’t all that’s happening in WSU soccer. The second phase of the renovation to the Lower Soccer Field has begun with heavy excavation and the closure of the sidewalk on the north side of Cougar Way.  Here are a few photos of the project.

This second phase includes locker rooms and training areas, 1,100 permanent seats, a concession area, restrooms and a welcome area with on-site ticketing. In addition, broadcast capabilities will be bolstered with a 3,000-square-foot press box. The project cost is $1.6 million, according to The Daily Evergreen.  No word yet on any backlighting for Coug logos.

THE COUGAR BASEBALL TEAM IS sporting new uniforms this season. And they look sharp. While the pitching and timely hitting has led to a 13-8 start for the Cougs after taking two of three over the weekend in Pullman against Cal State Northside, I gotta give some credit to the natty new threads. Look and feel good, play good. The pinstripes worn at home on Sundays are classic and the all-gray-with-crimson accents are outstanding. The gray isn’t as dark as the “anthracite” color  the football team wears so the contrast is clearer between the crimson and gray. 

Junior third baseman Shane Matheny of Bremerton is off to a hot start this season. He leads the Cougars in batting averaging (.391), RBI (14), total bases (48) and slugging percentage (.696).

The Cougs wrap up their four-game series with Cal State Northridge today and then hit the road Friday for a three-game series at Cal.

About the Author: Chris Anderson is new to CF.C and dusting off the Seen & Heard column that Pat Mitchell had made a staple here for many years. Chris is a 2012 graduate of WSU with a lifetime soft spot for Chris Jackson, Jason Gesser, Marcus Truant, Will Derting and Collin Henderson.  He grew up a diehard Coug fan on the west side of the state and graduated from Curtis High. He lives in Pullman with his wife and manages the Palouse regional operations of The College Hill Group, a Cougar-owned and operated supplier of custom apparel and promotional products for groups, organizations and corporations of all sizes and industries.

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