The Cougs Run in the Pac-12 Tournament Comes to an End
LAS VEGAS – The Washington State women's basketball team ended its run in the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, presented by New York Life, in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 7, as the No. 7-seeded Cougars fell to No. 2 seed Arizona, 60-44, at the Michelob ULTRA Arena.
WSU had a fridge night offensively, as the Cougars shot 26.4 percent from the field against the Wildcats. 2020-21 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Charlisse Leger-Walker led the Cougars in scoring against Arizona with 12 points, as the Waikato, New Zealand native extended her double-digit scoring streak to eight games. Redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker followed her younger sister in the scoring ledger, as she tallied 10 points.
With the loss, Washington State bows out of the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament with a 12-11 overall record. It marks the first time in seven seasons that WSU leaves the conference tournament with a record over .500.
Washington State struggled to keep possession of the ball during the first two frames of Thursday's quarterfinal matchup, at WSU committed 20 turnovers over the first 20 minutes of play. Despite the miscues on offense, the Cougars were able to stay withing striking distance of the Wildcats in the first two quarters, as a Krystal Leger-Walker hit buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cut the WSU deficit to eight points, 29-21, going into the half. WSU would take better care of the ball in the third and fourth quarters, as they only committed six turnovers over the final two quarters.
Both squads struggled offensively out of the break, as a total of two points were scored between the two teams over the first 5:41 of the third quarter. Sophomore Johanna Teder ended the drought with a 3-point field midway through the stanza to pull WSU within seven points at 31-24. That would be the only field goal the Cougars would make in the third quarter, as Arizona pushed its advantage to 16 points at 42-26 to end the frame. WSU trailed by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, before ending their stay in the Pac-12 Tournament with 60-44 loss to the Wildcats.
The Cougs will now play the waiting game to find out if they will be play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in exactly 30 seasons. Washington State was featured in ESPN's Bracketology entering the Pac-12 Tournament as one of the last four teams in the field. Selection Monday is set for March 15 and will air live on ESPN at 4 p.m. PT.
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on today's result: "We got beat by a really good team, they manhandled us. Congratulations to Arizona. I thought they were just savage on us and smelled blood from the very beginning. They made it so hard for us to score points. Really disappointed in how we played on the offensive end. Couldn't be happier with our ability to limit them offensively. I love our defense and how hard they played. We're just weren't good enough offensive end yet to relieve the pressure we faced."
- Washington State is now 8-19 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament, while they fall to 2-4 all-time in the quarterfinal round.
- Charlisse Leger-Walker scored double-digit points for the 21st time this season. That ties her with KiKi Moore (2009-10) for the sixth-most games with games with 10-or-more points by a WSU freshman in program history.
- Sophomore Bella Murekatete pulled down double-digit rebounds for the second-consecutive game with by pulling down 10 caroms against the Wildcats. It marks her third game this season with 10-or-more rebounds, while it is her fourth career game with double-digit boards.
- Washington State made five 3-point field goals against Arizona, which extends its streak with 5-or-more 3-point field goals in 15-straight games.