Cougs Open New Season This Tuesday against San Jose State
PULLMAN, Wash. – A new season has arrived for the Washington State women's basketball team, as the Cougars kick-off the 2021-22 season this Tuesday, Nov. 9, when WSU takes on San Jose State. Tip-off from Beasley Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on WSUCougars.com.
WASHINGTON STATE (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) vs. San Jose State (0-0, 0-0 Mountain West) | Thursday, Nov. 9 | 7 p.m. | Beasley Coliseum
Live Stats | WSUCougars.com
Watch | Pac-12 Plus (Steve Grubbs)
Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Steve Grubbs)
Game Notes | WSUCougars.com
>> Washington State opens its fourth season under the direction of head coach Kamie Ethridge. The Cougars have improved their win total each season under Ethridge, as WSU won 12 games in 2020-21. The Cougs are coming off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 30 seasons, as Washington State earned a No. 9 seed in last season's tournament.
>> The Cougars return a heap of experience from last season's NCAA Tournament team, as WSU is the only school in the Pac-12 to return five starters with 20-or-more starts last season. The Cougars return 90.01% of their scoring from a year ago, led by sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker, who is the top returning scorer in the Pac-12 Conference after averaging a WSU freshmen record 18.8 points per game in 2020-21.
>> Washington State is 2-1 in season openers under head coach Kamie Ethridge. WSU has won each of the last two season openers, as the Cougars knocked off Washington, 60-52, in Seattle last season and defeated Pepperdine, 85-48, in Beasley Coliseum to open the 2019-20 campaign. Washington State is 24-27 all-time in season openers and 13-8 in season opening games in Pullman.
>> Tuesday's matchup between Washington State and San Jose State will mark the 10th all-time meeting between the two schools. WSU leads the series 6-3 and has won each of the last six games. The Cougars are 5-1 all-time against the Spartans in Pullman.
>> Washington State returns to a full schedule after being limited to 24 games last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WSU will play a total of 29 games this season with 11 non-conference games and 18 Pac-12 contests.
Welcome Back to Beasley
To celebrate fans returning to Beasley Coliseum this season tickets to this Tuesday's Washington State women's basketball season opener are just $3. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the link here.
Additionally, fans can gain free access to Tuesday's season opener with the purchase of a ticket for the Washington State men's basketball season opener against Alcorn State.
Beasley Coliseum Vaccination Policy
Washington State Athletics will begin implementation of the new gameday vaccination verification procedures at Beasley Coliseum starting with the WSU Men's and Women's home openers on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
All guests 12 years of age and older attending Cougar Basketball games at Beasley Coliseum this season will need to be verified by providing proof of vaccination or proof of a FDA-approved negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of the event. Fans under 12 years of age are exempt from providing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Guests planning to attend games at Beasley Coliseum should note that there are no on-site testing capabilities and it is highly recommended that negative COVID-19 testing be completed before arriving in Pullman. Click here for more information.
Celebrating Last Year's Success
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to Beasley Coliseum this Tuesday, as there will be a pregame recognition to celebrate the 2020-21 team's NCAA Tournament berth.
Last season, Washington State earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since the 1990-91 season. The Cougars earned an at-large bit into the Big Dance, where they were the No. 9 seed in the Mercado Region. WSU returns 11 of the 12 players on last season's NCAA Tournament roster.
Racking Up the Preseason Accolades
A trio of Washington State women's basketball players have recently earned preseason honors. The National Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Coaches Association named Charlisse Leger-Walker to the to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list, which goes to the top shooting guard in the nation, and Belle Murekatete was named to the Lisa Leslie Award watch list, which goes to the top center in the country.
In addition to her Meyers Drysdale Award watch list selection, Leger-Walker was named preseason All-Pac-12 by both the coaches and media. Fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker was also a preseason All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection by the media.
Receiving Votes in National Polls
The Cougars have received votes in both the Associate Press and WBCA Coaches top-25 polls. Washington State picked up 13 votes in the WBCA Coaches Preseason Top-25 Poll, while earning nine votes in the Associated Press preseason poll.
A total of five WSU women's basketball players represented their home country in a FIBA tournament during the offseason. The New Zealand sister duo of Krystal Leger-Walker and Charlisse Leger-Walker played for the Tall Ferns at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup in Jordan, helping New Zealand finish fifth at the event. Sophomore Jessica Clarke and freshman Tara Wallack suited up for Canada at the U19 FIBA World Cup in Hungary, where they helped the Canucks finish fifth. Bella Murekatete represented her home country of Rwanda at the 2021 FIBA Women's Basketball Afrobasket Zone V qualifier, where she guided her homeland to the semifinals.
Sister Act II
Washington State's Kiwi sister duo of Krystal Leger-Walker and Charlisse Leger-Walker took the Pac-12 by storm last season. Krystal led the conference in total assists last season with 109, while Charlisse ended the regular season as the Pac-12's leader in total points with 434.
This season will be a little different as the best kept secret in the Pac-12 last season is out now. Charlisse is the league's top returning scorer at 18.8 points per game, while Krystal is the league's top returner in assists after averaging 4.5 helpers per game last season.
A United Nations of Cougs
Once again, the Washington State women's basketball roster will have a heavily international influence in 2021-22. The Cougars have 12 players from eight different countries on this year's roster. Those countries include the United States (2), Australia (2), New Zealand (2), Canada (2), Estonia (1), Israel (1), Rwanda (1) and Turkey (1).
Scouting the Spartans
San Jose State was limited to only four games last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SJSU went 2-2 in those games, defeating California and Utah State before suffering back-to-back losses at Boise State. The Spartans have 10 new players on the roster this season, which includes four NCAA Division I transfers.
Senior Cydni Lewis is the team's top returner, as she averaged 10.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season. Fifth-year senior A'Tyanna Gaulden, who transfer into the program from Georgia Southern, is one of SJSU's top newcomers, as she led GSU in scoring last season at 9.6 points per game. Gaulden also played at Arkansas from 2018-20, where she was just one of 17 players in program history to dish out over 100 assists in a season.
Last year, San Jose State averaged 65.5 points per game, while shooting 34.0 percent from the floor. Defensively, the Spartans gave up 67.0 points per game last season. Teams shot 38.2 percent from the floor against SJSU, but only 28.6 percent from behind the arc. The Spartans forced teams into 16.5 turnovers per game last season.
For more information on the Washington State women's basketball team, follow @WSUCougarsWBB on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.