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Cougars were 8-82 in Pac-10 under Murrell

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State women's basketball coach
Sherri Murrell has resigned, athletic director Jim Sterk said
Thursday.

Saying she lacked energy to continue, Murrell, 39, just
completed her fifth year as Cougars' head coach. Her teams compiled
a 27-114 record, including just 8-82 in the Pacific-10 Conference.

The Cougars went 5-24 this season, finishing last in the Pac-10
for the fourth time in five years. They won only one of 18
conference games.

Sterk said Murrell told him Wednesday night she planned to
resign. She met Thursday with her players to tell them her
decision.

Sterk said athletic officials will begin a search for her
replacement immediately.

"It's obviously a very emotional time for Sherri Murrell, her
coaches and team and all of us who have worked with her," said
Sterk, who last month told Murrell she could expect to stay at
least another year. "She's leaving the program in better shape
than when she arrived."

Murrell, who was a head coach at George Fox University and at
University of the Pacific before coming to WSU in 2002, was an
assistant at Pepperdine, Brigham Young and Portland State after
finishing her playing career at Pepperdine.

Murrell said last season sapped her energy, and it wouldn't be
fair to her players to continue.

"I put my heart and soul into this program," she said.
"Unfortunately, the results didn't match the expectations."

Murrell said she has no immediate job prospects.

Sterk said Murrell's decision was "more about where the program
was; her disappointment about not winning more games, taking them
further, those kinds of things."

Cougars' women's teams have finished near the bottom of the
conference since 1990, but Sterk and Murrell said WSU can have
winning teams. Sterk pointed to the men's basketball team, which
was picked to finish last but was the No. 2 team in the Pac-10 and
went to the NCAA tournament.

Asked if former Washington coach June Daugherty, fired last
month after her team lost in the first round of the NCAA
tournament, would be considered as WSU seeks a replacement, Sterk
replied: "Nothing would prevent her from being a candidate." He
said a selection committee would look at numerous candidates.

Team captain Katie Appleton said Murrell's decision, announced
just before a news conference called to announce her resignation,
came as a surprise.

"I know that Coach Murrell and the staff put in a lot of hard
work and I know they gave it their best shot," she said. "As a
team, we wish Coach Murrell the best of luck. We love her and we
hope she does well in the future."