PULLMAN – The Washington State University men’s and women’s basketball teams made their public debuts on the court at Bohler Gym, Friday, for the fifth-annual ZZUMania.
The event kicked off with two Washington State students competing for tickets to the men’s game against Gonzaga, Dec. 5 at Beasley Coliseum. After an exciting showdown, the tickets were given away capped off by a half-court shot.
Following the competition, both teams came out, each student-athlete in their own costume to match their nickname and to the entrance song of their choice. After each student-athlete made their entrance, men’s head coach Ken Bone came in, followed by women’s head coach, June Daugherty.
Following the introductions, the women’s team showed its stuff with a basketball drills session, narrated by Daugherty.
After the women showed their skills, the men warmed up for an eight-minute scrimmage. The Cougars broke into a Crimson Team (Junior Longrus, James Hunter, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Brett Kingma, Royce Woolridge and Brock Motum) and a White Team (DaVonte Lacy, Mike Ladd, Will DiIorio, Dominic Ballard, D.J. Shelton, Jordan Railey and Brett Boese). The Crimson Team, jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but the White Team tied it up at 10 just minutes in.
Led by 14 points, including four 3-pointers by DaVonté Lacy, the White Team defeated the Crimson Team, 29-23. The Crimson Team was led by Hunter with 10 points, while Kernich-Drew added 5 points. D.J. Shelton added 6 points for the White Team, two of them alley-oop dunks courtesy of Lacy.
The next event saw the women’s team split into teams of four for a three-point contest. The team of Ireti Amojo, Hana Potter. Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley were the first to knock down three from behind the arc in five different spots, beating out the team of Taylor Edmondson, Brandi Thomas, Sage Romberg and Whitney Tinjum.
For the finale, two-time defending champion, Kernich-Drew, Hunter, Shelton, Woolridge and Ladd stepped up for the dunk contest. The five judges included for members of the women’s basketball team and one lucky member of the crowd.
First up was Kernich-Drew who completed a 360-dunk in his first try for 40 points. Hunter followed, missing his only attempt as he carted teammate Keaton Hayenga in a toy car, earning just 5 points. Shelton missed twice, but the third time was the charm when he converted a dunk off an alley-oop from Leavitt off the side of the backboard. He finished with 34 points with scores of 7, 6, 6, 7 and 8, respectively.
The fourth dunker on the night was Woolridge. After three misses, the redshirt sophomore spun completely around for a one-handed dunk and loud cheers from those in attendance. He earned the first 10 of the night, along with four 9s for 46 points. Just when it looked like Kernich-Drew would advance to the championship round for a chance at this third-straight dunk crown, Ladd stepped up as the final dunker. Ladd used a bounce and converted the backwards dunk for cheers, another 10 and 43 points, knocking Kernich-Drew out of the competition.
Ladd went first in the championship round. He started with two misses on attempts between his legs. On his third attempt, Ladd bounced the ball, and converted a half-windmill dunk. He earned two 8s and three 9s for 43 points once again. Looking for more, Woolridge stepped up with 60 seconds to convert a dunk. At just 6-foot-3, Woolridge missed his first dunk. In his second attempt he succeeded on what Ladd couldn’t, a dunk between his legs. He earned 10s all across the board for 50 points and the slam dunk championship.
The women’s team will hold its first exhibition game Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. against Simon Fraser at Beasley Coliseum, while the men will host Saint Martin’s in exhibition action a week later, Tuesday, Nov. 6.