I reminded Kemi Etridge, a Washington state women’s basketball coach, of her quote shortly after she was hired to run one of the less successful Power Five programs in the country.
“I have no doubt we can be successful here,” Etridge said back in 2018, presumably given the grim details of Cougar hoops’ uselessness, such as just two winning seasons in the past 22 years.
Looking back, Etridge exclaimed in ridiculous horror. “Did I really say that?”
Indeed, he did, է now he sincerely anticipates. Etridge led the Cougars to only the second race in school history in the NCAA Women’s Championship,: the first in 30 years. They will open the game against South Florida on Sunday night.
It is one of the most remarkable restoration works in the country, however, it was not uninterrupted. The Cougars scored 9-21 in the first season of the Etridge, improving slightly to 11-20 last season. They were 8-28 together in Pac-12, which was almost the opposite of success.
“Our brains have been beating for two years,” said Etridge, explaining why he had won over his three-year-old Bravo.
This season, WSU was selected for the finished Pac-12, which has been the Cougars’ most popular venue for the past three decades. But instead something magical happened.
In a season disrupted by COVID-19 ացրեց made it more difficult for WSU to remove a key bench player, the Cougars began to knock down the giants in a rough Pac-12. Down went to No. 21 Oregon. Down was ranked 7th in Arizona (Cougars topped the Associated Press Top 25 in the history of the ga program). Down captured number 5 at UCLA, which was a software hub. The first victory over the team of five. They narrowly lost to Oregon, which had a 27-game winning streak.
The physically and mentally dehydrated Cougars landed on the NCAA balloon four times in a row to stretch. They did not finish the 30-year series without a conference-winning record of 9-10 in Pac-12. It is difficult to impose their total 11-11 sign.
But the Cougars, who had a big shock at success that they failed to secure under Etridge’s predecessor, former Washington coach June un Daugherty, were no longer Pac-12 missiles. They finally justified Etridge’s belief in their final turn. He said his initial confidence was fueled by athletic director Pat Chun and University President Kirk Schultz, who assured him that they would provide him with all the resources he needed to succeed.
“They gave me a six-year contract and said, ‘Build this, because this is what you do best.’ “When you have the right support, you have to jump on the bandwagon,” Etridge said in a telephone interview.
“I knew we could not do it right away. Our list was not built correctly. We had to recruit, we had to get the right culture, we had to build it right on solid rock foundations. And in the third year, our culture is quite close. ”
And the list of the state of Washington is full of dynamic players who came to Palma from different countries of the world. That is not an exaggeration either. WSU has players from New Zealand (more on that at the moment), Australia, Turkey, Israel, Estonia, Canada and Rwanda. Oh Oh, Seattle and Nebraska.
Etridge says global awareness was needed because the WSU project was conducted with so little respect on the West Coast.
“When we got this job, we called a lot of club coaches in California, in Washington, all over the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “And some of them told us they had not heard of the Washington coach for years. And so, there were not many relationships. We did not trust them. So they did not offer it to children who go to UCLA, Stanford, Arizona և Arizona State. They offered us children who were going to go to middle school.
“We were not going to win the last five games on the bench of really good club teams in California. So the choice was to find fewer athletes, fewer players from America, or go to some of the best players in the world. ”
The key to the revival of Washington state from Waikato was to seduce a couple of New Zealand’s sisters, Crystal և Charlie Leger-Walker. Getting the crystal was the easier part. He played as a Northern Colorado coach at his previous stop in Etridge, eventually moving to Etridge, Washington.
The younger sister, Charlie, a novice superstar in her homeland, got a tougher sale. Virtually every school in the United States was with him, and when Leger-Walker finally made his decision, he decided to have fun with the coaching staff. Raising the bell, he began in a declining manner, telling the ASP staff. “I’m afraid to tell you.”
As the coaches prepared for the worst, Charlie smiled and said: “… That you will now have to put up with two Leger-Walkers.”
Etridge says. “It was cruel, just cruel. Our hearts were in our throats. But it does show you a little bit of his sense of humor. He was serious all the time as we recruited him. He asked deep questions, not fluffy ones. He wants to get a good education, he wants to trust, to believe in where he is going. ”
Leger-Walker was a revelation with an average of 18.9 points (second best in the conference) և 5.3 rebounds per game, while Pac-12 was a freshman for 12 years.
“From the moment he probably came to this world, Charlie could play anywhere,” said Etridge. “She is OK. He is a dynamic person, a player, a leader, just capable of dominating the game at every stage. I mean, offensively he’s great. And defensively he is wonderful. So this is a game changer for Washington state. ”
Etridge calls “Crystal” (10 points, 4.3 rebounds, 106 assists per game) Cougar glue.
“Acquiring one of them was a game changer,” Etridge said of the sisters. “When you get two of them at the same time, it changes the program.”
Etridge, 56, would like to continue the process of raising the state of Washington in the same tournament when he won the national title in 1986 as the undefeated Texas Star Guard (two years later he won an Olympic gold medal).
If the Cougars reach South Florida, North Carolina’s No. 1 seed is probably in the second round. But when you play in a Pac-12 conference loaded with national team teams, you are not afraid of challenges.
Especially when you have achieved the greatest of all. Make your previous sleeping փակ camera app relevant.