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Cougs Look to Cage the Bulldogs this Wednesday in Spokane

Dec 6, 2021

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Washington State women's basketball team is set to make the 75-mile trip north to Spokane this Wednesday, Dec. 8, as the Cougars are set to take on Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. PT and will air locally on SWX and also stream live on WCCSports.com.

WASHINGTON STATE (RV) (6-1, 0-0 Pac-12) at Gonzaga (RV) (7-1, 0-0 West Coast) | Wednesday, Dec. 8 | 6 p.m. | McCarthey Athletic Center
  Live Stats | Stat Broadcast
  Watch | SWX (Locally) | WCCSports.com (Stream) (Greg Heister and Stephanie Hawk-Freeman)
  Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Steve Grubbs)
  Game Notes | WSUCougars.com 

STARTING FIVE
>> Washington State heads up US 195 to Spokane sporting a 6-1 overall record. The Cougars have won back-to-back contests after collecting a win at home over San Francisco (72-58) followed by a victory at UC Davis (71-49). The Cougars are off to a 6-1 start for the second-straight season, which marks the first time since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns that Washington State has began two-consecutive seasons with a 6-1 record.

>> The Cougars will be seeking their third-straight win in a true road game this season. WSU is a perfect 2-0 in true road games in 2021-22 after picking win wins at Idaho (73-59) and at UC Davis (71-49). Washington State is an even 3-3 all-time against non-conference foes in true road games under head coach Kamie Ethridge. It's been almost two-full calendar years since WSU's last non-conference loss on the road, which came back on Dec. 21, 2019, at Miami.

>> WSU will be looking to snap a four-game losing steak to Gonzaga this Wednesday. The Cougars last victory over the Bulldogs came back on Dec. 8, 2015, when Washington State picked up a 55-48 win over the Zags in Beasley Coliseum. The Cougs lead the all-time series 20-11 and are 8-6 all-time against GU in Spokane. WSU's last win at the McCarthey Athletic Center came back during the 2014-15 season, when the Cougars left the Kennel with a 59-58 win on Dec. 8, 2015.

>> Junior Bella Murekatete and sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker come into Wednesday's matchup having scored double-digits in back-to-back games. Murekatete led the Cougars in scoring in last Saturday's win at UC Davis with 14 points, while Leger-Walker chipped in 13 points against the Aggies. Prior to that, Leger-Walker scored a season-high 27 points in last Thursday's home win over San Francisco and Murekatete tallied 16 points against the Dons.

>> The Cougars have been proficient at protecting the rim this season, as WSU enters the week ranked 14th in the nation in blocked shots per game at 6.1. Junior Bella Murekatete paces the way for the Cougars at 2.57 blocks per game, which is the 25th-highest per game average in the country.

Locking Up Foes
Washington State has been holding teams to 55.0 points per game this season. That ranks as the 55th-best scoring defense in NCAA Division I entering the week. WSU has held teams under 60 points in all but one game this season.  The Cougars have also been limiting teams to a 35.5 percent success rate from the floor, which is the 62nd-best defensive field goal percentage in the nation.

Krystal Clear Vision
Redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker is currently second in the Pac-12 Conference in assists per game at 5.0. That is also the 47th-best average in NCAA Division I. Leger-Walker has handed out five-or-more assists in four of her seven games played this season.

Receiving Votes
Washington State picked up four votes in this week's AP Top 25 Poll. WSU has received votes in every AP poll this season but have yet to break into the top-25. The USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll had not been release at the time of print. The NCAA also released the first NET rankings for the 2021-22 season this week, with the Cougars coming in at No. 63 in the country. NET is system used to determined teams for the NCAA Tournament.

Doubly Dependable
Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker has scored 10-or-more points in 28 of her career 31 games played. The guard has scored double figures in back-to-back games coming into Wednesday's matchup against Gonzaga, which includes a season-high 27-point performance in a win over San Francisco last Wednesday.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Gonzaga comes into its matchup against Washington State with a 7-1 overall record on the year. The Bulldogs have won four-straight games heading into Wednesday's game. Like the Cougars, GU received votes in this week's AP Top-25 poll, picking up 15 votes.

The Zags have six players averaging eight-or-more points per game this season. Junior guard Kayleigh Truong paces the Bulldogs at 12.0 points per game, while her twin sister Kaylynne Truong follows at 11.8 points per game. Senior Melody Kempton also averages double-digit points for Gonzaga, chipping in 10.9 points per contest. Kaylynne Truong has made a team-best 16 3-point field goals, while redshirt senior Cierra Walker is right behind her with 15 made 3-pointers this season.

As a team, Gonzaga is averaging 69.38 points per game. The Bulldogs are shooting 46.0 percent from the floor as a team, while connecting on 38.2 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Defensively, GU is giving up 54.0 points per game. Teams are shooting 38.0 percent against Gonzaga, while the Bulldogs are limiting teams to just 28.5 3-point field goal percentage.

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