Cougs Chop Lumber in Win over Northern Arizona
PULLMAN, Wash. – Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker collected her second-straight 22-point performance of the season on Friday, Nov. 12, to lead the Washington State women's basketball team to a 62-54 win over Northern Arizona in Beasley Coliseum.
Leger-Walker scored 13 of her game-high 22 points over the final two quarters of play to help the Cougars overcome a pesky Lumberjack squad It is Leger-Walker's 14th career game with 20-or-more points. The guard from New Zealand was one of three Cougs to record double-digits in the win over the Lumberjacks. Junior Bella Murekatete posted her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker matched Murekatete with 13 points of her own.
Murekatete's double-double against NAU is the fourth of her WSU career. The 15 rebounds pulled down against Northern Arizona marks a new season best for Murekatete, while it was just one carom short from matching her career high. The center also matched her career-best performance in blocks with five.
The Cougars forced NAU into 22 turnovers, while WSU only coughing up the ball nine times. The defensive prowess came in handy for the Cougars on Friday, as the team struggled to get into offensive rhythm throughout the afternoon. The Cougs shot 31.6 percent from the floor in the win, while holding a 19-7 edge in points off turnovers. Charlisse Leger-Walker tallied a game-best four steals, while her sister Krystal and Murekatete each had three steals.
WSU once again won the battle on the boards against Northern Arizona, 48-41. Murekatete and senior Ula Motuga did most of the damage on the glass for Washington State, as Murekatete pulled down 15 rebounds and Motuga grabbed 10 caroms.
It was a battle all afternoon between the Cougars and the Lumberjacks, as the two teams traded leads seven times and were tied on six separate occasions. NAU jumped out to a 23-20 lead midway through the second-stanza before WSU rolled off nine-straight points, with the last seven points coming from Murekatete, to take a 29-23 lead over the Lumberjacks with less than a minute before the half.
The Cougars took a 32-27 lead into the locker room, but Northern Arizona would pull even with WSU in the third quarter at 39-39.
From that point, Washington State used a 16-2 run that extended between the third and fourth quarters to turn a four-point game into a 14-point advantage for the Cougars. The run began with a Krystal Leger-Walker 3-pointer from the corner right before the third-quarter buzzer went off and continued into the fourth, as WSU scored the frame's first seven points. Washington State led by as many as 15-points late in the final frame but had to withstand one final punch from the Lumberjacks before capturing the 62-54 win.
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on the Win
"You've got to be happy with wins. We went small and finally found ways to string together a few possessions that separate us. I think we played a team that was a little hungrier than us and was really-well prepared. A lot of credit to Northern Arizona for that. I think this will be a great learning lesson for us. We're not perfect. I think we can get a little bit better from watching this film. You have to be happy with being challenged like this early on."
Washington State will wait nine days before playing its next game, as the Cougars will make the short trip over to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Vandals. Tip-off from the ICCU Arena is set for 2 p.m. PT.
- With today's win, Washington State wins the inaugural matchup between WSU and NAU.
- Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker extends her double-digit scoring streak to 11 games dating back to last season.
- Leger-Walker's 22-point performance marks the 14th time in in 26 career games at WSU that the guard has scored 20-or-more points.
- Junior Bella Murekatete recorded the first double-double of the season for Washington State with 13 points and 15 rebounds. It is also the fourth time in her career that she has recorded a double-double.
- Murekatete's 15 rebounds mark the sixth time in her career that she has pulled down 10-or-more rebounds. While her 13-point performance marks her 16th career game with 10-plus points.
- Fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker posted her first double-digit scoring performance of the season with 13 points against Northern Arizona. It is also the 35th collegiate game with 10-or-more points.
- Senior Ula Motuga's 10 rebounds set a new season high in caroms for the Logan, Australia native.