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Cougs Post a Historic Comeback Win at Southern Cal

Jan 14, 2022

LOS ANGELES – The Washington State women's basketball team erased a 17-point deficit at Southern California on Friday, Jan. 14, as the Cougars collected a 71-63 come-from-behind victory in Pac-12 Conference action to give the Cougars their first win at the Galen Center in eight seasons.

Friday's 17-point come-from-behind win over the Trojans is the largest comeback win for the Cougars in a non-overtime game in program history. It is also the largest margin Washington State has erased in a win in 29 seasons. The only larger comeback in program history was when WSU overcame an 18-point deficit at Washington to post a 75-72 win in overtime back on Jan. 9, 1993.

Junior Johanna Teder scored a game-high 20 points in the come-from-behind victory, as the guard hit a season-best four 3-point field goals against the Trojans. Teder was one of four Cougars to score double digits in the victory. Senior Ula Motuga scored 14 points, while matching Teder's four shots made from behind the arc. Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker chipped in 13 points, while junior Bella Murekatete added 10 points. Teder, Leger-Walker and Murekatete each posted double-digit points in the second half to help Washington State record the historic comeback.

With the win, Washington State brings an end to an eight-game losing streak against Southern Cal. Meanwhile, the Cougars pick up their first win at the Galen Center since Jan. 31, 2014 when WSU picked up a 79-75 win. WSU improves to 10-5 on the year and now stands at an even 2-2 through its first four Pac-12 games.

Washington State opened the night ice cold from the floor, as the Cougars trailed Southern California, 17-3, after 10 minutes of play. The Cougars found their stroke in the second quarter, as WSU scored 27 points in the frame to pull within 37-30 at the half. The 27-second-quarter points tied for the most points ever scored by the Cougs in the second quarter of a Pac-12 game.

WSU continued to chip away at the USC lead out of the break. The Cougars used a 6-0 run midway through the third quarter to make it a one-possession game at 45-42 after a pair of free throws from redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker with 5:17 remaining in the third. Washington State finally took its first lead of the game a little over three minutes later, as a 3-pointer from Teder in the corner gave the Cougs a 50-48 advantage with 2:03 in the third.

The Cougars held a 52-50 lead going into the night's final frame, but USC open the stanza with a 3-point field goal to retake a 53-52 advantage. Washington State responded with eight-consecutive points to take a commanding 60-53 lead with 6:22 left to play. The Cougars would never trail again in the contest from that point, as WSU pushed its advantage out to as many as 12 points before securing a 71-63 win on the road.

After only managing three points in the first quarter, Washington State outscored Southern California 68-46 the remainder of the contest. WSU allowed 26 second-half points to USC, which enabled the Cougars post a 29-point swing in their favor. The Cougars turned a 17-point deficit in the second into a 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

Coach Kamie Ethridge on Tonight's Win
"It feels really great to get a win. I thought we started the game playing really hard. I thought we executed well and got good shots, but the ball didn't go into the basket. We didn't create any offensive rebounding or other options and got ourselves into a hole. I love the way our team responded. I thought Johanna was critical to us in the second quarter, with some 3 pointers and Ula hit a couple as well that really got us going. Just getting the game manageable by half was huge for us. And then it might have been our best execution all year in the third and fourth quarters. Just really quality basketball and getting what we wanted. We played a tremendous 20 minutes in the second half. I'm thrilled that we got this win. It's hard to win in this league, so I'm happy for any of them."

Coug Notes
- Tonight's 17-point come-from-behind win for WSU marks the largest comeback win in regulation in program history.
- Washington State picks up its first win over USC since defeating the Trojans, 74-57, back on Jan. 8, 2017, in Pullman.
- The Cougars collect their first win at the Galen Center since the 2013-14 campaign, when WSU knocked off Southern Cal, 79-75.
- Junior Johanna Teder recorded her third 20-point game of her WSU career. She last scored 20-or-more points in a game back on Feb. 28, 2021, when she scored a career-high 23 points against Washington.
- Senior Ula Motuga scored a season-high 14 points in the win.
- Senior Ula Motuga and junior Johanna Teder each hit four 3-point field goals in the win. It is a new career-high for Motuga for most 3-pointers made in a single game. Meanwhile, Teder's four makes from behind the arc is a season high.
- Redshirt fifth-year senior Krystal Leger-Walker dished out six assists tonight. It is her eighth game this season with five-or-more assists.
- With her six assists tonight, Krystal Leger-Walker has now handed out at least one assists in 80-straight games.