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Cougs Fall at No. 10/8 Arizona, 60-51

Feb 12, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Washington State women's basketball team went cold offensively over the final 10 minutes of play at No. 10/8 Arizona on Friday, Feb. 12, as the Cougars fell to the Wildcats, 60-51, at the McKale Center.

Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker continued her impressive start to her WSU career, as the Waikato, New Zealand native scored a game-high 19 points in the loss. The guard was one of two Cougs to record double-digits in the scoring column, as her sister redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker tallied 11 points against the Wildcats. The duo connected on three shots each from behind the arc to help WSU collect eight 3-point field goals on the night.

The loss drops Washington State to 9-8 overall on the year, while the Cougars fall under the .500 mark in Pac-12 action for the first time this season, standing at 7-8. For Arizona, the No. 10/8-ranked Wildcats improve to 13-2 on the year, while the Wildcats improve to 11-2 in Pac-12 play.

WSU got a strong performance on the glass from junior Ula Motuga and sophomore Bella Murekatete against Arizona. Motuga pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, while Murekatete grabbed nine caroms. Motuga's double-digit rebounding effort against the Wildcats marks her third-straight game with 10-or-more rebounds, and it is the fourth time over the last five games she has grabbed double-digit boards.

The Cougs opened the game on fire, as they shot 42.9% from the field over the first 10 minutes of play to take a 19-18 lead over the Wildcats at the end of the first quarter. Charlisse Leger-Walker's jumper at 7:04 in the second period gave WSU a 23-20 lead, but it would be fleeting, as a 6-0 spurt by Arizona gave the host team a 26-23 lead late in the frame. The Cougs were able to pull within five points at 36-31 with less than 15 seconds remaining in the half, but Arizona closed the frame with a 3-point field goal at the buzzer to take an eight-point lead at 39-31.

Washington State limited the Wildcats to just five points in the third quarter, which set the program record for fewest points allowed in the third stanza. The defensive excellence in the third allowed the Cougars to pull within two points (44-42) heading into the fourth quarter. Washington State went 3-of-12 from the field over the final 10 minutes of play, which allowed Arizona to keep WSU at arms-length throughout the final period and come away with the nine-point victory over the Cougs.

The Cougars posted a higher field goal percentage than Arizona, outshooting the Wildcats 38.0% to 33.3%. However, 20 WSU turnovers allowed Arizona to hold a 15-8 advantage in points off turnover. WSU also lost the battle on the boards, 43-35, which enabled the Wildcats to post a 12-2 edge in second-chance points.

Washington State concludes its road trip through the desert this Sunday, Feb. 14 at Arizona State. Tip-off for the Valentine's Day is set for 11:30 a.m. PT and will stream live on Pac-12 Plus via the ASU live stream.

Coug Quotes
Coach Ethridge on Tonight's Result:
"Arizona was awesome. They are so good defensively, clearly one of the best defensive teams we've faced. It's too bad we can't handle the ball, and it's too bad that we couldn't handle their pressure. They had 15 steals, and I don't think I've ever really heard of that in a game. There is a lot of stats that tell you about the day, and that's one of them. They rebounded the ball better than us, and we turned the ball over. That is a winning receipt in a game that I thought was winnable for us."

Coug Notes

  • Charlisse Leger-Walker's 19-point performance marks the 15th time this season that the freshman has scored 10-or-more points. That puts her in a tie with Alke Dietel for the ninth-most games with double-digit points by a WSU freshman.
  • Ula Motuga has now pulled down 10-plus rebounds in three-straight games, while she has totaled 10-or-more caroms in four of her last five games.
  • Motuga now has collected 10-plus rebounds in six games over her WSU career.
  • With the loss, Washington State falls to 30-38 all-time vs. Arizona, while they are now 14-17 in games played in Tucson.
  • With her 11-point effort, Krystal Leger-Walker has now recorded 10-or-more points in nine games this season.