NCAA tournament: How Washington State embraced its tight-knit team and a Shania Twain song in surprising March run

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Five years ago, Washington State finished 9-21 in head coach Kamie Ethridge’s first season at the helm.

Now, her Cougars boast a 23-10 record, won the school's first Pac-12 championship in any women’s sport and earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament.

This Cougars squad has cemented its place in WSU history. With such a tight-knit, fun-loving and adept-at-history-making group on her hands, Ethridge told Yahoo Sports a big goal this season has been finding the perfect equilibrium between reveling in the moment and being serious about basketball. To date, they’ve succeeded. The mission continues through March.

“We’re trying to do the exact same thing [we’ve done throughout the season] as attention has come to us,” Ethridge told Yahoo Sports. “To keep it in perspective and have a great balance of, ‘This is the most exciting time of our life.’ But when we have to get ready to prepare for games, and as ...

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