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Women athletes

The most prolific scorJeanne (Eggart) Helfer. Photo Bruce Andre
Spring 2017

How you play the game

It took a while for the guys to start passing her the ball during pickup games at the gym.

Jeanne (Eggart) Helfer ’82 stuck with it, spending much of her free time back in 1977 simply running the length of the basketball court waiting for a chance to show she knew her way around the paint. It was her first semester at Washington State, a few months before she would start setting school records, and Helfer patiently waited for the guys to discover what her older brother and his friends already had learned back in Walla Walla.

That girl can shoot. And pass. And rebound.

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Cougar Crew Days
Fall 2013

Cougar Crew Days

In March, alumni and team members of men’s crew, the oldest sport club at WSU, gathered for Cougar Crew Days, as they do each year. But this year’s celebration had special significance: 40 years of rowing competitions.

Rich Stager ’74 and Ken Abbey, vice president of business affairs, formed the crew team in 1969, built the Cougar Shell House on the Snake River, and appointed landscape architecture professor Ken Struckmeyer as the first coach. The team entered competition in 1973.

The Cougar Crew Days included a banquet, auction, and the annual race between team members and alumni. According to Doug Engle ’80, they raised … » More …

Spring 2010

Ruggers

On a frosty Saturday morning in early December, Martin Stadium rings with the thud of tackles and calls for a pass. Football season ended two weeks before, so the voices on the field aren’t quarterbacks and safeties. They are the voices of the fly-half and fourteen other players on the WSU women’s rugby team facing off against Eastern Washington University.

In dark crimson jerseys with black letters and striped crimson-and-gray socks, the WSU women quickly take command on the snow-dusted field with strong team play and swift runners. Players pass the ball—roughly the same shape but larger than a football—run or kick as they advance … » More …

Fall 2006

Two female athletes, two public falls

In the first three months of 2006, two images of female athletes and their subsequent media interpretations played on television and front pages across the country. The first one showed Lindsey Jacobellis during the 2006 Winter Olympic Snowboard Cross competition falling after a jump near the end of her run. Headlines such as “Showboating Costs Snowboarder Gold” suggested that she tried for a “hotdog” finish which led to her subsequent second place. Apparently, with no one close behind her lead, Lindsey grabbed her snowboard in a showy move and lost control. In interviews, Lindsey claimed “I was having fun. Snowboarding is fun. I was ahead. … » More …

Summer 2004

WSU Hall of Fame adds 5 who excelled

Carol Gordon

On February 21, the day of her induction into Washington State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Carol Gordon offered a silent prayer. That evening she shared her petition with 180 guests at the induction banquet in the Compton Union Building.

“Please let me speak before George [Raveling],” the longtime WSU professor, coach, and administrator said. Her comment drew a rousing ovation from the audience, including Raveling himself. The charismatic Cougar basketball coach from 1972-83 would speak later. Olympic gold medallist Julius Korir; Linda Williams Sheridan, Spokane prep coaching legend; and football All-America Mike Utley were the other honorees.

Gordon championed women’s athletics at … » More …

Fall 2007

Home-court advantage: Shelley Patterson

When Shelley Patterson graduated from Washington State University in 1984, she thought her basketball career was over. A guard for the Cougar women’s basketball team, she was among the state’s all-time leaders in assists and steals. But in 1984 there wasn’t much work for a woman in basketball. So she started a career in computers. That didn’t last long. In her free time she volunteered with a team at a local community college. That, and her persistence in applying for open positions with college teams, led to her first professional job in NCAA basketball in the mid-1980s. Since then, her coaching career has taken her … » More …

Fall 2007

Their place in history: WSU women athletes made their mark

One day in 1948 four Washington State College students tugged on their white rubber swim caps, adjusted their nose plugs, and plunged into a cold swimming pool. Three of them locked together head to foot to form a vertical underwater ring, and the fourth swam through it toward a photographer who captured the maneuver on film.

Last year Ryli Clark ’06 found that picture-one of a series of photos of the Fish Fans, WSC’s swimming club-and she was stunned. “At first I couldn’t tell what or where it was,” says the alumna who had just graduated from WSU with a degree in digital technology and … » More …

Winter 2007

History was made…The fight for equity for women's athletics in Washington

Back in the late 1960s, when Jo Washburn was athletic director for women’s intramural sports at Washington State University, she had to stretch $1,200 to cover all the expenses of the volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, field hockey, skiing, and tennis teams.

Women’s athletics was a second-class affair. The athletes had to carpool to away games and sleep four to a hotel room to save money. They had to buy their own uniforms. They helped set up spectator seating for their meets. And they trained only when the facilities weren’t being used by the men’s teams. Few, if any, received athletic scholarships.

Meanwhile, their male counterparts traveled … » More …