FILE - Washington State head coach Kamie Ethridge speaks with Oregon head coach Kelly Graves during an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., in this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, file photo. Washington State has earned its first ranking ever in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll, entering at No. 25, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Collin Andrew, File)

FILE - Washington State head coach Kamie Ethridge speaks with Oregon head coach Kelly Graves during an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., in this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, file photo. Washington State has earned its first ranking ever in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll, entering at No. 25, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Collin Andrew, File)

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Cougars women ranked for the first time ever

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2021 1:30am
  • Sports

Kamie Ethridge was surprised to hear that Washington State had never been ranked before.

Now the Cougars coach can add that to the team’s list of accomplishments: They entered The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll at No. 25 on Monday.

“I honestly didn’t know we’d never been ranked,” Ethridge said. “I heard a lot about the lows we’ve experienced and talked to our team about the fact we have no banners. We have one NCAA Tournament appearance in the history of the NCAAs. A big part of our recruiting players was about hanging the first banner and being a first. How exciting it is to be on the way up.”

The ranking comes a day after Washington State beat then-No. 7 Arizona 71-69 in overtime on a buzzer-beating layup by freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker. Washington State (7-1) has won five of its first six Pac-12 games for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

“We’re enjoying the process right now,” said Ethridge, who took over the program in 2018. “The team has had a lot of firsts, and this is another one of those. We’ll celebrate and acknowledge and enjoy the feeling.”

While Washington State was enjoying its first ranking, Stanford tightened its grip on the No. 1 spot in the poll. The Cardinal received 29 of the 30 first-place votes from a national media panel. They were followed by Louisville, North Carolina State, UConn and South Carolina. The Wolfpack received the other No. 1 vote.

Not much was expected from the Cougars this season. They were picked last in the Pac-12 preseason polls by the media and coaches.

“The team grabbed hold of being picked 12th and carried that with a big fat chip on their shoulder,” Ethridge said. “They don’t verbalize a lot. … They have a lot of pride about what they can do with this program.”

They’ve definitely opened some eyes with two victories over Top 25 teams after also beating Oregon State last month. It’s the first time since the 2014-15 season that they have two wins over ranked opponents. The lone loss came by four points to Oregon.

Ethridge hopes to guide the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991.

The schedule doesn’t get easier for the Cougars, with four straight road games, starting with a trip to Los Angeles this weekend to face USC and No. 8 UCLA. The Cougars don’t return home until Jan. 27, when they have back-to-back games against No. 1 Stanford. The Cardinal continued their winning ways this week, beating then-No. 11 Oregon. The Ducks moved up one spot to 10th.

More in Sports

UCLA Bruins swipe Washington State Cougars

Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 17 points and UCLA… Continue reading

OUTDOORS: Three-day brant hunting season starts Saturday in Clallam County

Apply for Puget Sound Recreational Crab and Shrimp Advisory Council

In this Oct. 28, 2018, file photo, Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer watches the team's NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Seahawks fired Schottenheimer on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, following a season in which the team set several offensive records but coach Pete Carroll had clear issues with how the offense operated. (Paul Sancya/The Associated Press)
SEAHAWKS: Seattle fires offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer

The Seattle Seahawks fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer following a… Continue reading

OUTDOORS: Steelheaders plan boat rally against new rules in Forks

TRAILERED DRIFT BOATS are a common sight in Forks during the winter… Continue reading

Washington State center Efe Abogidi (0) blocks a shot by Arizona guard Jemarl Baker Jr. (3) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday in Pullman. (Dean Hare/The Associated Press)
CARMAN COLUMN: Cougs’ hoops teams on the ascent

A TEAM’S RISE can be just as satisfying as the ultimate destination.… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider walks on the field during warmups before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, in Seattle. The Seahawks have agreed to a contract extension with Schneider that will keep him tied to the franchise through the 2027 draft. (Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press)
SEAHAWKS: Seattle agrees to contract extension with GM

The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to a contract extension with… Continue reading

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood hold the trophy after their win against Ohio State in an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Alabama won 52-24. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
CFP CHAMPIONSHIP: Seventh heaven — Alabama wins another title for Saban

Crimson Tide head coach has now won seven NCAA championships, six in Tuscaloosa

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
SEAHAWKS: K.J. Wright wants to remain with Seattle with new contract

K.J. Wright smiled. But he wasn’t laughing. The longest-tenured Seahawks player had… Continue reading

Most Read