No. 25 Cougs Fall to Trojans at the Galen Center
LOS ANGELES – The No. 25-ranked Washington State women's basketball team got a 20-plus-point performance from both Leger-Walker sisters against Southern Cal on Friday, Jan. 15, but that wasn't enough for WSU to overcome a hot-shooting Southern Cal team, as the Trojans handed the Cougars an 81-77 overtime loss at the Galen Center.
Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker matched her career high in points with 29 points, while redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker tallied 23 points in the overtime loss. The younger Leger-Walker sister scored 15 of her 26 points against the Trojans in the fourth quarter and overtime, as she was able to force an extra stanza for the second-consecutive game with a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation.
The loss to the Trojans snaps WSU's four-game winning streak, as the Cougars now stand at 7-2 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 Conference play. Meanwhile for USC, the win marks the third-straight victory for the Trojans, as they improve to 6-5 on the year and 4-5 in league play.
Charlisse's late offensive explosion allowed the Cougars to erase a 12-point fourth quarter deficit. Washington State ended regulation on a 14-2 run to push the game into overtime. The younger Leger-Walker sank a 3-point field goal with 1:08 left to play, then added a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to tie the game up at 64-64 with five seconds left to play. The freshman guard nearly won the game at the end of regulation, as Leger-Walker was able to steal an inbounds pass at mid-court and get to the lane before having the ball knocked out of her hands, forcing her into a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Leger-Walker would stay hot in the extra stanza, as she sank three 3-point field goals over the extra five minutes of play to keep the Cougar's hopes alive. WSU was unable to complete the comeback, as Southern Cal shot a blistering 62.5% from the field in overtime, while connecting on all six of its free throw attempts to secure a four-point win over the newly-ranked Cougs.
Junior Ula Motuga pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, while tallying six points. The Cougars were able to outrebound USC, 41-35, thanks in large part to seven offensive boards that led to 16 second-chance points.
Friday's contest featured 13 lead changes and seven ties. Washington State led by as many as eight points midway through the third quarter, but the Trojans would go on a 25-5 run that extended into the fourth quarter to give USC a 58-46 lead with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Washington State shot 37.5% from the floor against the Trojans on Friday, while USC posted a 46.8% field goal percentage. The Cougars hit a season-high 13 3-point field goals against the Trojans. Krystal Leger-Walker and Charlisse Leger-Walker each made a career-high five shots from behind the arc. Junior Cherilyn Molina also came off the bench and hit a pair of 3-point field goals, which is a career-best for the Kailua Kona, Hawai'i native.
The No. 25-ranked Cougs will be back in action this Sunday, Jan. 17, when they host No. 8/8 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Tip-off from Westwood is set for 11 a.m. PT and will air live on Pac-12 Washington.
Coach Ethridge on Tonight's Result: "A lot of good things tonight. I thought we showed a lot of grit and heart after getting down 12 points in the fourth quarter. Also, just a lot of disappointment. I'm kind of mad at myself. I don't feel like I had the team prepared and ready. It's a great learning experience. Obviously, this is what you get in the Pac-12. You face a lot of different styles of play. USC mixed it up a lot, and I think it threw us off a little bit. I'm disappointed in how we performed, but not in our effort."
- Tonight's game against USC marked the first game in program history that Washington State has played as a ranked team.
- With the loss, Washington State extends its winless streak against the Trojans to seven games.
- The 13 3-point field goals are a season-high for the Cougs. The last time WSU hit 10-or-more 3-point field goals came on Feb. 15, 2019 against Washington, when the Cougars hit 10 3-pointers against the Huskies.
- With 29 points against the Trojans, Charlisse Leger-Walker ties her career-high in points, which came against Idaho on Dec. 13, 2020.
- The 29-point effort from Charlisse Leger-Walker extends her double-digit scoring streak to nine games. It is also her fifth game with 20-plus points.
- Krystal Leger-Walker's 23-point performance marks her second 20-plus-point performance of the season and the third of her career.
- Ula Motuga's 12 rebounds vs. USC give the forward her second game with 12-or-more rebounds over the last three contests.
- Tonight's overtime contest is the second-straight game overtime game for Washington State. The last time WSU played in back-to-back overtime games came during the 2012-13 season, when they played two-consecutive overtime games on Nov. 10 against Minnesota (2 OT), and Nov. against South Dakota State.