By John Boyle herald Writer
SEATTLE — Mike Daugherty jokes that, after all of these years working for his wife as an assistant coach, he’s gotten pretty darn good at following directions.
That’s why he didn’t argue when his wife June, Washington State’s head coach, told him not to come with her to the hospital Thursday, and it’s also why the Cougars were able to come back to beat Arizona State 48-41 without their head coach in their first game of the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at KeyArena.
Daugherty, the former longtime University of Washington coach who has led a program revival at WSU in her five seasons in Pullman, felt pain in her stomach during the team’s shootaround at earlier in the day, and team physician Dennis Garcia examined her and determined the coach was suffering from acute appendicitis.
Mike Daugherty got a cab and was ready to accompany his wife to the hospital, but she had other ideas.
“I was going with her until she told me not to, and I just do whatever she says,” he said. “She said, ‘No, you stay here with the team in case I have to stay at the hospital.’ So I did that. She said, ‘Win the game,’ so we did that. I’m good, I’ve been listening to her for 24 years.”
Mike Daugherty reported after the game that his wife was out of surgery and doing well, and said he wouldn’t rule out seeing her on the sideline when the Cougars play Stanford tonight.
“I hope so, because I want to retire 1-0,” he joked. “I’d like to go out undefeated, and that would assure that.”
Mike Daugherty can make light of an unexpected trip to the hospital and surgery because he knows his wife has survived much worse. Back in May of 2007, not long after taking the WSU job, Daugherty was arriving at an Everett medical clinic for a scheduled appointment when she went into sudden cardiac arrest. If Daugherty’s daughter, Breanne, hadn’t been home sick from school that day, she wouldn’t have been in the car to run for help when her mom collapsed, or if Daugherty hadn’t been at a medical clinic, there wouldn’t have been an immediate medical response and Daugherty likely wouldn’t have survived that day six years ago, so it’s easy to see why her husband wasn’t too worked up about an appendix.
“They say the procedure is one you go home from the next day,” Mike Daugherty said. “And knowing my wife, if she can come back to the hotel, she’ll be on the sideline tomorrow.”
Whichever Daugherty is leading the Cougars tonight, they’ll need a better start than they had Thursday if they’re going to stay in the game with Stanford. Whether it was the distraction of knowing their coach was in the hospital, the defense of the Sun Devils, or just some Pac-12 Tournament nerves, the Cougars couldn’t get much going offensively, scoring just 13 points as Arizona State built a five-point halftime lead while dealing with its own shooting woes.
The Cougars responded in the second half, however, determined not to let their hospitalized coach down, and used a 19-4 run to take control of the game.
“Our nerves kind of got the best of us in the first half offensively,” said freshman forward Mariah Cooks. “But we used June as motivation to push us.