Coach: Kamie Ethridge (third season at WSU, 32-52; seventh season overall, 115-96)
Final NET ranking: 45
Biggest wins: def. No. 21 Oregon State, 61-55 (Dec. 19); def. No. 7 Arizona, 71-69 (OT) (Jan. 10); def. No. 5 UCLA, 67-63 (Feb. 5)
Player(s) to watch: G Charlisse Leger-Walker, 5-10, Fr. (18.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.1 assists); G Krysal Leger-Walker, 5-9, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 4.6 assists); C Bella Murekatete, 6-5, So. (8.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Need to know: Picked last in the Pac-12 preseason polls, the Cougars earned their first NCAA tourney bid in 30 seasons, recording the second-most league wins (nine) in school history. ... Washington State is powered by the Leger-Walker siblings, New Zealand natives who became the first pair of sisters in Pac-12 history to end the regular season leading the conference in total points (Charlisse had 434) and assists (Krystal had 106). Between them, the sisters attempt more than 12 3-pointers a game, shooting about 33 percent from long range. ... The Cougars likely will brandish no more than an eight-player rotation, which could prove costly against a healthy, deep Bulls squad, especially if they encounter foul trouble.
Audible: “They’ve got two really good players in the Leger-Walker sisters; we’ve got to do a good job defending those guys. (As a team) they take 25 to 27 (3-pointers). They’ve been tested, they played a really good schedule in the Pac-12. We’ve got to try and play as many people as we can, wear them down. They want to primarily play five or six people. You’ve got two really, really good teams in the first-round matchup.” — Bulls coach Jose Fernandez