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Women's Basketball Takes on No. 5/4 UCLA This Friday at Beasley

Feb 4, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State women's basketball team returns to action after a week-long break, as the Cougars host No. 5/4-ranked UCLA this Friday, Feb. 5. Tip off from Beasley Coliseum is set for 12 p.m. PT and will stream live on Pac-12 Plus, via the WSU Live Stream.

WASHINGTON STATE (8-6, 6-6 Pac-12) vs. No. 5/4 UCLA (10-2, 8-2 Pac-12) | Friday, Feb. 5 | 12 p.m. | Beasley Coliseum
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  Watch | Pac-12 Plus (Steve Grubbs)
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  Game Notes | Click Here

>> Washington State seeks to end a two-game skid this Friday, after suffering back-to-back home losses to No. 6 Stanford. The Cougars stand at 8-6 overall on the year, while they are an even .500 in Pac-12 Conference play at 6-6. The Bruins come to Pullman on a five-game winning streak that has put them at 10-2 on the year and 8-2 in conference games.

>> The Cougs will be looking to avenge a 68-66 overtime loss to the Bruins back on Jan. 17 in Pauley Pavilion. Redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker forced overtime by getting a tip-in bucket off an intentionally-missed free throw. Leger-Walker's game-tying shot was No. 9 on ESPN's SportsCenter Top-10 Plays of the Day.

>> Friday's matchup will serve as the 66th all-time meeting between Washington State and UCLA. The Bruins have won six-straight games in the series, pushing their overall record against the Cougars to 57-8. WSU's last win in the series came back on Jan. 6, 2017 in Pullman, 82-73. Chanelle Molina tied Lia Galdeira for the most points scored by a freshman in a single game in WSU history, with 33 points in the win.

>> Washington State enters this week's slate of games with a NET ranking of 35. The NET, which stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, replaced the RPI this season and it is used as the primary sorting tool for selection and seeding for the NCAA tournament.

>> Friday's game marks the sixth time over the last eight contests that the Cougars have played a ranked foe. Washington State has played teams ranked inside the top-10 in five of those six contests, which includes Friday's opponent, No. 5/4 UCLA. Washington State is 2-5 this year against teams ranked inside the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA polls.

Picking Pockets
Washington State has been taking the ball away from opponents left-and-right this season, as the Cougars currently rank 66th in NCAA Division I in total steals with 126. WSU's 9.0 steals per game average ranks 74th-best in the nation. Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker currently leads the Pac-12 in steals with 38, while her 2.71 steals per game is also tops in the Pac.

Logging the Minutes
After enduring a stretch of five overtime periods in five games in the month of January, Washington State has three players rank inside the top 10 in the Pac-12 in minutes played. Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker sets the pace, with her league-high 38.1 minutes per game, a mark that is also seventh-highest in NCAA Division I. Redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker is fourth in the conference at 35.8 minutes played per game, while junior Ula Motuga ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in minutes played per game at 34.8 minutes.

Bella Leading the Way
Sophomore Bella Murekatete is coming off one of her best performances in a WSU uniform this past Friday vs. Stanford. The 6-3 post from Rwanda scored a team-best 17 points, while pulling down a team-high seven rebounds against the Cardinal. The 17 points are a new career-best for Murekatete, as she led the Cougars in points and rebounds in the same game for the first time in her career.

Among the Nation's Best
Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker's 17.9 points per game is currently the fifth-highest scoring average for a freshman in all of NCAA Division I. Leger-Walker is currently third in the Pac-12 in scoring, while her 251 total points scored is tops in the conference. The freshman guard has scored 20-or-more points in seven games this season, two-off Borislava Hristova's WSU freshman record of nine games with 20-plus points.

Scouting the Bruins
UCLA comes into Pullman as the hottest team in the Pac-12, having collected five-straight wins. The Bruins are currently ranked No. 5 in the Associate Press top 25, while they entered the week at No. 4 in the USA Today/WBCA poll. Overall, on the year UCLA holds a 10-2 record and an 8-2 mark in Pac-12 play.

Sophomore Charisma Osborne has played some of her best basketball of late, as the guard comes into Friday having scored 20-or-more points in each of her last five games. Osborne leads the Bruins in scoring at 19.3 points per game and she scored a game-high 28 points against the Cougars back on Jan. 17. Senior All-American Michaela Onyenwere follows Osborne at 17.1 points per game, while she also leads UCLA in rebounding at 8.8 boards per contest. Onyenwere has posted a double-double in three of her last five games entering Friday's matchup, which include a 15-rebound, 14-point performance against the Cougars.

As a team, UCLA is averaging 73.7 points per game, while the Bruins shoot 40.3% from the floor. UCLA has been stingy defensively this season, as the No. 5/4-ranked team in the country is allowing only 58.2 points per game, while teams are posting a 38.5% field goal percentage.

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