Cougs End Pac-12 Tournament Run in the Quarterfinals
LAS VEGAS – The Washington State women's basketball team's run in the 2022 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament presented by New York Life came to an end in the quarterfinal round, Thursday, March 3, as the No. 3-seeded Cougars fell to No. 6 seed Utah, 70-59, at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Junior Bella Murekatete, who was named the 2021-22 Pac-12 Co-Most Improved Player of the Year earlier this week, led the Cougs in scoring with an 18-point performance against the Utes. Freshman Tara Wallack followed by setting a new career-high in points with 16.
Murekatete shot 53.8 percent from the field, going 7-of-11 from the floor. Meanwhile, Wallack was shot an even 60 percent against Utah, as she made six of her 10 shots from the field in her Pac-12 Tournament debut. Wallack tied redshirt junior Michaela Jones for the team lead in 3-point field goals in the Pac-12 Quarterfinals, as both players hit a pair of shots from behind the arc.
Washington State ran into a hot-shooting Ute squad, as Utah hit 57.1 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes of play. Utah made a total of eight 3-point field goals in the first half. The Cougars trailed the Utes 14-13 at the 4:43 mark of the opening stanza after junior Johanna Teder hit a jumper in the lane. Utah would go on a 15-0 run from that point to take a 16-point lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals.
WSU continued to battle in the second half, as the Cougs limited Utah to just 28.5 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes of play. As a team, WSU shot 37.1 percent from the field in the game, while Utah posted a 42.1 shooting percentage.
The Cougars will now wait to find out if they get an at-large bid into the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. WSU set a program record this season for most wins in the NCAA era with 19 victories this season. The Cougs also won a program-record 11 Pac-12 games this season to end the regular season in a tie for second with Oregon in the Pac-12 standings.
WSU Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on the Result
"I want to congratulate Utah on the win, I think they are playing incredible basketball. That first half was a tidal wave on us. They shot the ball from 3 and they are really hard to guard. They made us pay for every mistake that we made. We made enough (mistakes) to put ourselves in a hole, obviously. Giving up 45 points (in a half) is hard to come back from. I loved our fight in the second half and I thought we got a great start. It was 40 minutes of really good effort from our team, just couldn't beat a really good Utah team tonight."
- Washington State ends the Pac-12 Tournament with a 19-10 overall record. The 19 wins are the most collected by a WSU team in a single season in program history.
- With the loss, WSU moves to 8-20 all-time at the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament.
- Junior Bella Murekatete scored double-digits for the 17th time this season.
- Murekatete's 18-point performance is the most points the center has scored in a game since her career-high 22-point outing against San Jose State in this year's season opener.
- Freshman Tara Wallack's 16-point performance establishes a new career-high for the guard. She has set her personal-best scoring mark in back-to-back games after posting 14 points in last Saturday's win at California.
- Wallack's 16 points marks the third time this season she has scored double-digit points.