Cougs Battle But Fall At No. 4/5 Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Washington State women's basketball hung tough with No. 4/5-ranked Arizona on the road, but the Cougars were unable to knock off the Wildcats on Friday, Jan. 7, as they were handed a 60-52 defeat at McKale Arena.
Washington State battled throughout the night against No. 4/5 Arizona, as the game featured four ties and four lead changes. The Cougars overcame a slow start against the Wildcats, as WSU erased an 11-point first-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead into halftime at 24-23. The two teams were tied at 31-all at the 4:47 mark of the third quarter after layup from sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker, but Arizona would close out the third on a 15-0 run to take a 46-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars did not back down against the No. 4/5-ranked team in the country, as WSU opened the fourth quarter on a 15-5 run to pull to within five points of Arizona with 1:46 remaining in the game. The Cougs continued to chip away at the Wildcat lead in the closing minutes, as they got back-to-back 3-point field goals from redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker and her younger sister Charlisse to pull bring it to a one-possession game at 54-52 with 48 ticks left on the clock.
After a timeout, the Cougars were called for a common foul then subsequently picked up a technical foul after that to give the Wildcats four free throws and the ball. Arizona hit three of those charity tosses and got a layup on the ensuing possession to take seven-point advantage with 26 seconds remaining. WSU could not complete the comeback this time, as the Cougars left McKale Arena with an eight-point loss.
Washington State fall to 9-5 on the year and 1-2 in Pac-12 Conference play. Meanwhile, Arizona improves to 11-0 and 1-0 in league play.
Krystal Leger-Walker flirted with a triple-double on Friday night against the Wildcats, as the redshirt fifth-year senior scored a team-high 12 points, pulled down nine rebounds and dished out six assists. Leger-Walker was one of two Cougs to score double-digit points in the game, as junior Bella Murekatete collected 11 points. Washington State featured a balanced scoring ledger against the No. 4/5-ranked team in the country, as all but one WSU player that played on the night scored.
Washington State shot 33.9 percent from the floor against Arizona, while the Wildcats hit 42.2 percent of their shots from the floor. WSU was able to outrebound Arizona, 35-29, and forced the Wildcats into 15 turnovers, which led to 19-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on the Result
"I'm disappointed that we lost the game. I loved the way we competed. I thought we battled back after getting rattled at the beginning of the game. We just kept battling and obviously had a lead at half. I thought our third quarter shots were perfect and everything we needed, and just missed a lot of really good shots. To get down again in the third quarter was tough, but I just loved our grit. We put ourselves in the position to give us a chance at the end."
- Redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker and junior Bella Murekatete scored double-digits in a game for the first time since Dec. 12 against Boise State
- Krystal Leger-Walker's 12 points marks her 38th career game with 10-or-more points
- Krystal Leger-Walker's six assists extends her assists streak to 79-consecutive games
- Junior Grace Sarver extends her consecutive games played streak to 51
- Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker's eight-game double-digit scoring streak comes to an end with a seven-point effort against Arizona. It's only the fourth time in her career she has been held under 10 points in a game
- Washington State falls to 30-39 all-time against Arizona
Washington State returns to action next Friday, Jan. 14, as the Cougars head back out on the road to Los Angeles to take on Southern California. Tip-off against the Trojans is set for 7 p.m. PT and will air live on Pac-12 Washington.