Five Minutes with Coug Krystal Leger-Walker
Over the coming weeks, we will catch up with and spend five minutes with a number of Cougar student-athletes. Next up is Washington State women's basketball senior Krystal Leger-Walker.
Krystal, you came to the program last season from Northern Colorado, but you had to sit out due to NCAA Transfer rules. How are you feeling as you're getting ready to play your first game in almost two years?
I'm definitely excited to get back out there. It feels like forever since I've been on the court, especially with COVID pushing the season back a bit. I'm super stoked to get back onto the court, especially playing for Coach Ethridge again.
How tough was it for you having to sit out last season, and how beneficial was it for you to go through that experience?
"It was super tough, but definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot watching the team and the league last season. I just took it all in and I'm looking forward to getting back out there. While I was sitting out I was able to get into the gym a bit more to focus on my game. I worked on adjusting my shot and improving my skills. Hopefully, I'll see some improvements when I step back onto the court."
You played for Coach Ethridge during your first two seasons at Northern Colorado. How has that familiarity with her system benefited you as you prep for the 2020-21 season?
"It's extremely beneficial for the both of us. Coach Ethridge knows how to coach me and how to get the best out of me on the court. Along with that, I can tell when she is getting frustrated or isn't happy with our performance, and when we need to step it up without her saying it. We both have a strong understanding of each other's expectations on the court. Knowing that made the transition to a new team easier for me, because I know exactly how she wants things to be done."
What's it like being a point guard for a coach that accomplished so much at that position during her playing days?
"It's a super humbling experience. It's such a privilege to play under her and to learn from her. Just seeing how her mind works and how she sees the court is amazing. Her knowledge of the game and her basketball IQ is second to none."
When you do return to the court, you'll have a familiar face out there with you, as your sister Charlisse will be a freshman for the Cougs this season. How neat is it for you to be out there together playing for the same team?
"It's super fun. She has grown so much as a player since the last time we played together in New Zealand. It's so cool to come together to finish my college career, just as she is getting hers started. It's a remarkable way for me to end it, I think."
Like you mentioned, this will not be the first time you've played with your sister in a basketball game. Can you describe a little bit about the chemistry you two have together on the court?
"She's bluntly honest to me when we're out there. She doesn't beat around the bush if I've playing terrible. And vice versa. We both hold each other accountable on the court and that's great. We know each other's game pretty well and are both extremely competitive against one another. When we play one-on-one, we know how to guard our go-to moves. It's so cool to be playing with someone who knows your game as well as you do."
Both you and your sister have played at the highest level of international competition with New Zealand in the past. How will that experience benefit you two for the rigorous Pac-12 schedule?
"It's always great playing at the highest level you can. Playing at that high level in New Zealand, we were always playing against longer, smarter and faster players. There is no choice but to improve when you're at that level and I think that experience will help the both of us get mentally ready for the Pac-12."
With the start of the 2020-21 season less than a month away, what is a goal for the team coming into this season?
"We want to win more games. We have that expectation for ourselves. We want to improve every game and not take any steps backwards this season. I think we've improved a lot over the summer, but we've got to keep building off that every day."