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January 1, 2010

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - Moments Of The Year



365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. No, I'm not telling you how long it takes John Kruk to run a mile. It means another year has come and gone and on this first day of the earth's new rotation around the sun, it's time to come up to the podium to receive the awards for the 2009 Cougar Athletic Moments of the Year, including the Moment of the Year. Unfortunately, the budget for our trophy was invested in Las Vegas area real estate and General Motors stock. So a nice pat on the back for our winning moments will have to suffice for this year (note: pat on the back requires a 15 dollar charge for the first pat, 25 dollars for the second pat and each pat after is 100 dollars).



January 10th: Klay Thompson Dunk Helps Cougars To Victory

After two debilitating losses to begin the Pac-10 season to Washington and California, the Cougars found themselves in an unexpected hole to a mediocre Pac-10 bottom feeder. They battled back in the second half and to cap off the comeback, Klay Thompson throw down a vicious dunk over Mitch Johnson that gave the Cougars the lead and although the Cardinal and Cougs would battle back and forth for the remainder of the game, they came out on top in the end largely because of the spark provided by Thompson.


February 21st: Cougar Upset UCLA at Pauley

After losing five of six games, it seemed nearly impossible for the Cougars to be even remotely competitive in this game. But Taylor Rochestie thought otherwise, putting up 33 points to guide the Cougars to a 82-81 victory, just their second win in 53 games at Pauley Pavilion.


February 28th: Rochestie Sinks Sun Devils on Senior Day

It was too appropriate that the man who keyed the Cougars to victory just one week earlier against UCLA would have perhaps the defining moment of his Cougar career in his final game. Down a point with time about to expire in overtime against ASU, Rochestie launched a prayerful three from well beyond the arc that found nothing but the net to give the Cougars an upset over the 11th ranked Sun Devils. Even more amazing was the fact that it was that, previous to the shot, Rochestie was just 1 of 10 from the field for the day.


From February 20th to May 24th: Matt Way Toes Mound For Cougars

Simply put its has been quite some time since the Cougars had a starting pitcher as dominant as Matt Way. Every day the young man pitched, you knew he gave the Cougars a great chance to win. How dominant was Way: 2.43 ERA, in a 107 innings pitched with 124 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of just .216. Way made hitters look just plain stupid with his lightning quick fastball and stupefyingly (if that's a word) good breaking balls.


May 29th: Cougar Baseball Ends 19-year postseason drought

After an incredibly good season not only in non-conference play and in conference games, the Cougars made it to the College World Series for the first time in nearly two decades. Although Washington State wasn't able to advance out of regional play (which would've been a chore given how good Oklahoma and Arkansas were), the Cougars laid the groundwork for future generations of Cougar baseball players to make it back to the postseason dance.


June 12th: Jeshua Anderson Takes Home Another Crown

Bringing home one NCAA championship is impressive enough. Bringing home another one in consecutive years is even more so. Jeshua Anderson capped it off by doing it as a freshman then a sophomore, setting a new school record along the way. He did all this with a partially herniated disc and he was still the best 400 meter huddler in the country. Easy to see why he quit playing football shortly into fall camp especially given the fact he will likely make a lot more money on the track.


September 19th: Cougars Rally To Beat Southern Methodist

After losing an ugly game to Hawai'i in Seattle, the Cougars struggled early against SMU but battled back in the second half with four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. Then the Cougar offense showed it's only real life of the day, marching down the field with two minutes left to tie the game and in overtime, a Chima Nwachukwu interception followed by a Nico Grasu field goal sealed up the only Cougar football victory of the season.


October 25th: Cougars Fight Off Golden Bears

After giving up the lead and game to Stanford two days before, the Cougars looked sloppy and downtrodden early against the Golden Bears on the pitch just two days later. But the Cougars, needing a win to get to the postseason, held off a late Cal rally and won in the first overtime period with a Kiersten Dallstream penalty kick.


November 13th: Cougar Soccer Gets First-Ever Postseason Win

On the opening night for Cougar basketball, the soccer team was in College Park, Maryland getting their first ever-postseason victory over Villanova 1-0. Although they lost their next game to 19th ranked Maryland 1-0, the Cougars set the stage for next year's team full of young, fit and skilled players to guide Washington State back to the promised land.


December 22nd: Basketball Holds Off LSU

In front of the largest home crowd in school history, a young Cougar team that had previously given away games held off a veteran, physical Tiger team. Better yet, they did by doing something young teams typically don't do to well: made their free throws. The Cougars showed they had matured from their ugly loss to Gonzaga where they gave up a 15-point lead and played well beyond their years.



Moment of the Year: Rochestie's deep trey would be an easy pick but were going with the women's soccer team victory over Villanova in the NCAA Postseason. Sure, none of us saw it but the win made history for a program whose ship is sailing much more smoothly than in years past. One could argue for Jeshua Anderson as well, but the team effort speaks volumes about where soccer has gotten and where it could still go.


PICKS:

Last Week: N/A
Overall: N/A

Time for basketball! And remember, we pick Saturday and next Thursday here. I know, a little weird but so was anything Pee Wee Herman was involved in. By the way, no funny names here. I can't be that creative.

Hard to believe this is how far UCLA has fallen after the past few years. But Arizona isn't very good either. What a game this could be!

Arizona 71, UCLA 65


USC is streaking (not literally, for all our sakes keep Kevin O'Neill's clothes on) and Arizona State is better than many thought this year. The most intriguing easy season match-up to be sure.

USC 67, Arizona State 60


I'm in the Bay Area this weekend for this game but there is no way I'm paying a lot of money for a bad seat in a city with a bunch of hippies. I'll watch this at a bar thank you.

California 67, Stanford 54


If the Huskies can't win this game, I get to make fun of them for the rest of the season. Regardless of what they do, I will continue to poke fun at them.

Washington 80, Oregon 55


An early season test against the Princeton system for the Cougars who need as many early season wins as they can get to make any case of getting to the postseason. And they will do it.

Washington State 70, Oregon State 62


Out of conference in the conference season? I'm appalled! Make them pay Redhawks!

Seattle University 65, Oregon State 60


The Trojans should continue their run of victories with a waltz over a Stanford team that has been over achieving all year.

USC 69, Stanford 57


Last year, this would've been a great game. This year, this is nothing but an easy one to call.

California 76, UCLA 64


If the Huskies aren't careful, Arizona State is going to sneak up and surprise them, a problem Washington will have all year and it starts right here.

Arizona State 61, Washington 57


This game, although early in the season, is must win for Washington State. If they want to have even a chance at the top 5 in the conference, they have to win on the road and beating a decent Wildcat team will do them good.

Washington State 78, Arizona 69


Obscure Pick of the Week: No more Larry Bird for you Sycamores!

Drake 71, Indiana State 60


Dunderhead of the Week: Mother Nature. Where was one of those famous Tahoe dumps when I was up there earlier this week? Is three feet of fresh snow too much to ask? Accompanied with closing the highway and restricting the number of people on the mountain, yes probably.






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