Cougs kick off hoops season in style

PULLMAN -- High flying antics, no-look passes, and lights-out shooting were all the rage Friday night as Washington State's men's and women's basketball teams took the floor at Bohler Gym for "Midnight Mayhem." The place was packed -- and rocking, as the Pullman faithful were treated to a sneak peek at what the Cougars have in store for the 2009-10 season.

Boh the men and women put on an electrifying show that had fans on their feet for the majority of the evening. The night's festivities, which marked the formal start of the practice season, began with a 3-point-shooting contest with both teams joining together.


To open up the shoot-out, Michael Harthun outshot sophomore star Klay Thompson by going 6-of-6. The crowd went nuts. Rosie Tarnowski, matched up against Katie Grad, then impressed when she connected on 5-of-6 from the beyond the arc.

The most exciting event was the slam dunk contest where Marcus Capers, James Watson, Reggie Moore, DeAngelo Casto, and Brock Motum went head to head.

Capers got things off right by throwing the ball off of the backboard, catching it in midair, and throwing down a wind-mill dunk that set off an explosion inside of Bohler.


Motum, the freshman from Down Under, put on a show himself as he threw down the most creative dunk of the night. He tossed the ball a good 50 feet in the air, took off his shirt, caught the ball in mid-air, and threw it down for a tom-a-hawk slam.

Motum and Capers met up in the finals, but Capers stole the show and the title when he, a-la Vince Carter in his Raptors days, jumped high in the air, slammed the ball down with authority, and got his elbow inside of the rim. Capers was swarmed by teammates and the crowd again went nuts.

The night ended with a scrimmage held by the men's team. It was reminiscent of the NBA All-Star game -- full of highlight-reel dunks, and no-look passes that made AND 1's Hot Sauce look like a college walk-on.

Moore, a freshman from Seattle, led the parade with highlight passes, putting together two beauties to Motum and Thompson that resulted in big jams. The tempo of the scrimmage was slow, and it was evident that the team was there to put on a show for the fans, not hone their game.

Casto was receiving constant encouragement from fans to shoot a 3-point shot, and he finally did nut it went off the front iron. Casto did however show his post presence with thundering jams and emphatic rebounds. There was no sign of after effects from the knee he injured over the summer at the World Games.


ASKED IF HE HAD a starting line-up in mind for the season opener against Lewis and Clark State on Nov. 9, men's head coach Ken Bone said, "I think Klay and DeAngelo probably have the best chance of starting, other than that who knows." The women's team is coming off an improved season where they finished 11-and-19, and head coach June Daugherty explains her team is excited to be competitive this season in the Pac-10.

"We're athletic, explosive -- a team that's really hungry to climb into the top five (in the Pac-10)," said Daugherty.

Bone got a warm welcome from the fans when he was introduced, and explained he wasn't surprised in the least at the big Bohler turnout.

"I've heard a lot of great things about the support that Washington State gets for all their programs," said Bone. "I think basketball has had a tremendous amount of support over the past few years, it's a great group of fans."

Daugherty echoed those comments. "It's just so fun to go out and work hard and see our girls get out there in front of them and get appreciated," said Daugherty. "What a great crowd tonight!"


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