WSU Looks to Tame No. 4/5 Wildcats this Friday in the Desert
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Washington State women's basketball team battles its second-straight top-five opponent this Friday, Jan. 7, when the Cougars travel to the desert to take on No. 4/5 Arizona. Tip-off against the Wildcats is set for 5 p.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Network.
WASHINGTON STATE (9-4, 1-1 Pac-12) at No. 4/5 Arizona (10-0, 0-0 Pac-12) | Friday, Jan. 7 | 5 p.m. PT | McKale Center
Live Stats | Stat Broadcast
Watch | Pac-12 Network (Cindy Brunson and Joan Bonvicini)
Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Steve Grubbs)
Game Notes | Click Here
>> Washington State heads to the desert for a game against the reigning national runner-up Arizona Wildcats. The Cougars took on the defending national champion Stanford in their previous outing back on Jan. 2. WSU fell to the No. 2/3-ranked Cardinal, 82-44, in Beasley Coliseum.
>> The Cougars stand at 9-4 overall and are an even 1-1 in Pac-12 play this season. Meanwhile, Arizona heads into Friday's matchup with a perfect 10-0 record this season. Friday's game will also serve as the conference season opener for Arizona.
>> WSU will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Wildcats this Sunday. Arizona leads the all-time series 39-30, but Washington State has won eight of the last 14 in the series. The Cougars last win in Tucson came back on Feb. 2, 2018, with a 78-60 victory.
>> Friday's contest will serve as the fourth time this season WSU has played a team ranked inside the top-25. While it's the Cougar's third game against a top-five program this season. WSU is 0-4 against top-25 teams this season. Washington State won three games against top-25 programs last season, which included a 71-69 win in overtime against No. 7/10 Arizona back Jan. 10, 2021, in Beasley Coliseum.
>> Head coach Kamie Ethridge's 41 wins are the most by a WSU coach through four seasons in the NCAA era. Ethridge needs five more wins to surpass Sue Durrant's total of 45 wins in her first four seasons (1972-76), which are the most wins by a WSU coach through their first four seasons.
Let It Fly
Washington State heads into Friday's contest against Arizona ranked second in the Pac-12 in 3-point field goals made. The Cougars have hit 87 3-point field goals, which is the 69th-highest total in NCAA Division I. Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker leads the team with 30 3-point field goal makes, a total that ranks third in the Pac-12 and 53rd in the NCAA.
They Keep Going and Going and Going
Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker and redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker have been racking up the minutes once against this season for Washington State. The Cougar sister duo currently ranks first and second in the Pac-12 in minutes played per game, with Charlisse averaging 36.24 minutes per contest, which leads the Pac-12, while Krystal is logging the second-most minutes per game in the league at 34.49.
Taking the Top Spot
Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker heads into the week as the Pac-12 leader in total points scored with 226. That point total is also the 39th-most in the NCAA. Last season, Leger-Walker became the first freshman in Pac-12 history to end the regular season as the league's top point scorer with 434 points.
The Cougars have been one of the country's best shot-blocking teams all season, as WSU heads into the week ranked 19th in the nation in blocks with 68 total swats. Washington State features two players that rank inside the top-10 in the conference in blocks. Junior Bella Murekatete's 26 blocks are the second-most in the league while freshman Tara Wallack is eighth in the conference with 15 swats.
Washington State heads into Friday's matchup with a NET ranking of 75. The NET is a ranking system used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to determine seeding and at-large bids.
Scouting the Wildcats
Arizona comes into the week ranked inside the top-five in both the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA Coaches Polls. The Wildcats checked in at No. 4 in the AP Poll this week, while they were No. 5 in the Coaches Poll. Arizona is 10-0 on the year, but have not played a game since Dec. 17 due to COVID-19 protocols. Because of that, Friday's contest against WSU will serve as Arizona's Pac-12 season opener.
Senior Cate Reese is the lone double-digit scorer for a Wildcat team that averages 74.0 points per contest. The 6-2 forward is averaging 13.1 points per game and has scored double figures in seven of her 10 games this season. Reese also paces the Wildcats in rebounding with 5.9 board per contest. Arizona has five players averaging between 6.4 and 8.1 points per game.
Defense has once again been Arizona's calling card this season, as the Wildcats are surrendering only 49.7 points per contest. The Wildcats are holding teams to 33 percent from the field, while forcing opponents to 20.6 turnovers per game. Offensively, Arizona is shooting 46.6 percent from the floor as a team and 36.1 percent from behind the arc.
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