Seen & Heard 1/14

WHILE NO. 22-RANKED WASHINGTON State went down in overtime at Stanford on Saturday, 71-68, Cougar junior swingman Kyle Weaver had a game for the Ages. He scored 14 points, pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, dished off 10 assists, and came up with a career-high six steals. WSU believes this marks the first-ever triple double in school history.

Weaver also is the first WSU player since Carlos Daniel in 1998 to record three straight double-doubles. He has four in his career, all in the last seven games.

One of those Weaver assists Saturday, with 39.8 seconds left, sent the game into overtime when he tossed an in-bounds pass to Ivory Clark who slammed it home. The Cougars, now 15-3, don't play again until next Saturday when they host the 11-6 Washington Huskies, who also lost in overtime on Saturday, at Cal. As of Thursday, only 1,000 tickets remained for the Coug-Dawg match up.

By the way, if the Cougars' hot hoops start isn't enough to warm your heart during these chilly days of winter, try this little nugget: There's only one senior, Ivory Clark, on the roster.

And get this, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated recently picked a group of eight teams from which he thinks the national champion will come. He picks usual suspects Arizona, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, Ohio State and ... your Washington State Cougars!

Writes Wahl, "Something is afoot in the Palouse, where the Cougs have developed a newfound consistency under Bennett the Younger while retaining the hard-to-prepare-for quirkiness that could serve them well in the NCAA tournament."

WSU's women's basketball team is only 5-13 this season, but true freshman forward Marisa Stotler of Chandler, Ariz., is really turning heads. She's the Cougs' leading scorer with 10.9 points per game and has twice as many steals (41) as anyone else on the team. She's also No. 2 in blocked shots.

EX-COUGAR COACH Mike Price tapped two of his former WSU players -- tight end Cody Boyd and quarterback Josh Swogger -- as "regional exceptions," so they will join him on the Texas side of the stadium next month in the first-ever Texas vs. Nation college all-star game. The Texas team is otherwise made up of players who have high school or college ties to the Lonestar State, while the Nation team is comprised of players from across the country. Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan will coach the nation team.

Speaking of Price, his old buddy Dennis Erickson -- putting an apparent exclamation point on his lack of integrity -- did some fast talking after he was named head coach at Arizona State, convincing prep signal caller Casey Stangel of San Jacinto, Calif., to renounce the verbal commitment he gave to Price five months ago and instead head to ASU.

While on the topic of old Cougar football coaches, you've gotta salute Jim Walden for sticking to his guns -- and looking like a prophet in the process. He took untold amounts of flak for voting Florida No. 1 in the final regular season Harris Poll instead of Ohio State. Of 113 votes in that final Harris Poll he was the only one to pick Florida No. 1 -- a vote that effectively leap-frogged Florida over Michigan for the right to play Ohio State for the national championship. "I didn't predict who was going to win a head-to-head game," Walden told the Des Moines Register after the Gators routed Ohio State last Monday. "I only picked who I thought had the best team in the country after 13 weeks."

Former Cougar defensive end Adam Braidwood, the No. 1 overall pick in the CFL draft last year, played in 15 games and started 10 for Edmonton this past season. He registered 20 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries with one touchdown. He was nominated by Edmonton for CFL Rookie of the Year honors. He also received a two-year contract extension with an option for a third. In the meantime, he's staying in shape over the off season by prepping for his debut in "mixed martial arts" competitions. His ring name is The Boogeyman.

COUGAR GRID COACH Bill Doba, much of his staff, plus athletic director Jim Sterk will be making the rounds on the West side of the state next month with annual "A Night with Cougar Football" gatherings in Olympia (Little Creek Casino) on Feb. 8 and Bellevue (Hilton Hotel) Feb. 9. For details, contact WSU West at 206-448-1330. Of note is that national letter of intent signing day is Feb. 7, so the events will feature fresh news and film of the newest class of Cougars.

Hats off to Cougar fans, whose online voting diligence propelled Butch to the Capitol One National Mascot of the Year title. He beat out Maryland's terrapin mascot in the final round. The title means a $10,000 check for WSU.


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