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Cougs Continue their Pac-12 Tournament Run with Quarterfinal Matchup against Arizona

Mar 4, 2021

LAS VEGAS – The No. 7 seeded-Washington State women's basketball team is set to play its first Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game since the 2016-17 season, as the No. 7-seeded Cougars take on No. 2 seed Arizona this Thursday, March 4. Tip-off against the Wildcats is set for 5 p.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Network.

No. 7 WASHINGTON STATE (12-10) vs. No. 2 Arizona (15-4) | Thursday, March 4 | 5 p.m. PT | Michaelob ULTRA Arena
  Live Stats |
  Watch | Pac-12 Network Network (Mary Murphy and Krista Blunk)
  Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Steve Grubbs)
  Game Notes | Click Here


>> Washington State advanced into the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament by knocking off No. 10 seed Utah, 57-48 this past Wednesday, March 3, in Las Vegas. The Cougars had three players scored double-digits in the win, led by Charlisse Leger-Walker's 15-point performance. Sophomore Bella Murekatete collected a double-double against the Utes, as she scored 13 points, while pulling down 12 rebounds in the win.  

>> WSU will be playing in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals for the sixth time in program history. The Cougs are 2-3 all-time in the Pac-12 quarterfinals with the last win coming during the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament. Thursday's matchup against Arizona marks the first time since 2017 that Washington State has played in the quarterfinals. Washington State will be seeking to punch a ticket into the semifinal round for the first time in seven years.

>> The win over Utah in the first round marked the eighth win in program history at the Pac-12 Tournament. Washington State is 8-18 all-time in the conference tournament.

>> Friday's matchup will be the 69th all-time meeting between Washington State and Arizona. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 38-30, though the two teams have split wins in their last six meetings. WSU is 0-2 all-time against Arizona at the Pac-12 Tournament. The last meeting took place over a decade ago, as the Cougars suffered a 62-60 loss in the first round at the 2010 Pac-12 Tournament.

>> Charlisse Leger-Walker was named the 2020-21 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on Monday, March 2. It caps off a sensational rookie campaign for the Waikato, New Zealand native, as she ended the regular season as the conference's top point-scorer, racking up a league-best 407 points in 21 games. Leger-Walker becomes the second WSU player to win the conference's top freshman honor, joining Alke Dietel who was the 1997-98 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.  

Locking Them Down
Defense has been the key to the Cougars success in Wednesday's first round win over Utah, as the Cougars limited the Utes to just a 23.3 percent shooting percentage from the floor. Washington State held Utah to just six points in the second quarter, which ties a program record for the fewest points allowed in the second stanza. WSU has either set or tied the team record for fewest points allowed in the second, third and fourth quarters this season.

Chairwoman of the Board
Sophomore Bella Murekatete set a WSU record for most rebounds in a single Pac-12 Tournament game in Wednesday's win over Utah. Murekatete pulled down 12 boards in the victory, breaking previous record of 11 rebounds which was held by Bianca McCall (vs. USC; 2003), Jazmine Perkins (vs. USC; 2011), Katie Madison (vs. USC; 2011), and Shalie Dheensaw (vs. Oregon; 2014).

Controlling the Glass
Washington State pulled down 44 rebounds in Wednesday's first round win. The 44 caroms in the first-round victory over Utah tied the program record for the most rebounds in a Pac-12 Tournament game, matching the 44 boards pulled down against Oregon State back in 2014.

Converting at the Line
The Cougs shot a blistering 88.2 percent from the free throw line against Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, which set the program record for the highest free throw percentage in a Pac-12 Tournament contest. Washington State hit 15-of-17 of their attempts from the line against the Utes.

Scouting the Wildcats
Arizona comes into the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season at 13-4 in conference play. The Wildcats stand at 15-4 overall this season and are coming off a 66-64 overtime loss at Arizona State. Arizona is featured inside the top-15 in at No. 11 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA polls this week.

2021 Pac-12 Player of the Year Aari McDonald leads the Wildcats at 19.4 points per game. The guard leads the Pac-12 in scoring, while she is shooting 39.5% from the field. McDonald is one of two double-digit scorers for Arizona, with junior Cate Reese (11.6 ppg) being the other. Trinity Baptiste leads the team in rebounds at 5.7 caroms per game.

As a team, Arizona is averaging 67.8 points per game. The Wildcats are shooting 41.2 percent from the field, while they are connecting on 32.9 percent of their attempts from behind the arc. Defensively, Arizona is giving up 56.6 points per contest, while teams hold a 37.5 percent field goal percentage against them.

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