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Cougs Begin NCAA Tournament Run Saturday against Kansas State

Mar 15, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. – March Madness awaits the Washington State women's basketball team Saturday, March 19, as the No. 8-seeded Cougars take on No. 9-seed Kansas State in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Tip-off is set from the PNC Arena is set for 8:30 a.m. PT and will air live on ESPN 2.

No. 8-Seed WASHINGTON STATE (19-10, 11-6 Pac-12) vs. No. 9-Seed Kansas State (19-12. 9-9 Big 12) | Saturday, March 19 | 8:30 a.m. PT | Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)
  Live Stats | Click Here
  Watch | ESPN 2 (Sam Ravech & Kelly Bramlich)
  Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Steve Grubbs)
  Game Notes | Click Here
  Coach Ethridge Press Conference (3/14/22) | Click Here

STARTING FIVE
>> Washington State will be playing in its third NCAA Tournament game in program history. WSU is 0-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. The Cougars ended a 30-year NCAA Tournament drought last season by earning an at-large bid into the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Washington State was a No. 9 seed and fell to No. 8-seeded South Florida, 57-53, in the first round. Washington State's first taste of March Madness came back at the 1991 NCAA Tournament, where the No. 11-seed Cougars were handed an 82-62 loss to No. 6-seeded Northwestern.

>> WSU returns all five starters from last season's NCAA Tournament game. The Cougs return all eight players who played in last season's NCAA Tournament first-round game against South Florida. Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 18 points against the Bulls, which is the most points scored by a WSU player in an NCAA Tournament game. Junior Johanna Teder tallied 16 points against USF last season and hit four 3-point field goals, which is a program record for most 3-point field goals in an NCAA Tournament game.

>> Washington State and Kansas State will be meeting for the fifth time on the hardwood. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 4-0. The last matchup between WSU and KSU came back on Nov. 20, 2009, with the Wildcats claiming a 70-63 victory in Manhattan.

>> WSU heads into the 2022 NCAA Tournament seeking its 20th win of the 2021-22 season. Washington State's 19 victories is a program record for most wins in a single season in the NCAA era. WSU won a program-record 20 games in 1978-79.

>> The Cougar's coaching staff will have some familiarity with Kansas State. WSU Head Coach Kamie Ethridge, along with WSU Associate Head Coach Laurie Koehn and WSU Director of Player Personnel Deb Patterson all spent extended time in Manhattan. Ethridge was the associate head coach at K-State for 18 seasons under Patterson, who was the Wildcat's head coach from 1996-2014. Koehn played for KSU from 2001-05 and left Manhattan as the all-time NCAA record-holder for three-pointers made with 392. Koehn played in the NCAA Tournament each season at K-State and helped the Wildcats reach the Sweet 16 in 2002.

A High Seed
Washington State was selected as the No. 8 seed in the Bridgeport Region in this year's NCAA Tournament. It is the highest seeding the Cougars have received in the NCAA Tournament, as they were previously a No. 9 seed in 2021 and a No. 11 seed in 1991. The winner of Saturday's first round contest will advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, which will take place Monday, March 21, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Charlisse Looking for Another Strong NCAA Game
Sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker looks for another record-setting performance at the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the guard from New Zealand set the WSU record for most points scored in an NCAA Tournament game with an 18-point performance against South Florida.

Krystal Clear Vision
Fifth-year redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker comes into the 2022 NCAA Tournament riding a 94-game assist streak. The point guard from Waikato, New Zealand has dished out an assist in every game she has played since Jan. 27, 2018. Leger-Walker's 134 assists this season are second-most in the Pac-12 Conference and ranks eighth on WSU's single-season assist list.

Bella's Improvement
Junior Bella Murekatete took a huge step forward in her development this season and it was recognized by the league's coaches, as she was named the 2021-22 Pac-12 Co-Most Improved Player of the Year. Murekatete averaged double-digit points this season for the first time in her career at 10.6 points per game. She scored 10-or-more points in 17 games, which includes a career-high 22-point performance against San Jose State on Nov. 9. Murekatete wasn't only an offensive threat, the  6-3 post also leads the Cougars in blocks (50) and rebounds (307).

Looking To Break Into the Top-10
Junior Johanna Teder and sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker each head into the NCAA Tournament looking to break into WSU's single-season top-10 list for more made 3-pointers. Teder needs one more 3-point field goal make to tie Kelli Kronberger (1993-94) and Lia Galdeira (2014-15) for 10th on WSU's single-season made 3-point field goals list. Leger-Walker needs six 3-pointers to tie Kronberger and Galdeira's mark of 57 made 3-pointers.

Ula the Snipper
Senior forward Ula Motuga has shown off her range from behind the arc this season and she currently leads the Pac-12 Conference in 3-point field goal percentage at 48.2 percent. Motuga has hit a career-high 27 3-point field goals this season, which accounts for 36 percent of 3-pointers made in WSU career.

Facing the Big 12
Washington State is 6-15 all-time against current Big 12 Conference teams. The last time WSU played a team from the Big 12 came during the 2019-20 season, when the Cougars battled Baylor in the Virgin Islands on Nov. 28, 2019. The Bears won that game, 89-66.

Scouting the Wildcats
Kansas State heads into the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed after going 19-12 in 2021-22. The Wildcats finished in sixth place in the Big 12 Conference, going 9-9 in league contests. KSU comes into the NCAA Tournament with a NET ranking of 37. This will be Kansas State's 17th NCAA Tournament appearance.

Junior Ayoka Lee leads the Wildcats in scoring at 22.5 points per game. Lee's scoring average is the seventh highest in the NCAA this season. The 6-6 center set an NCAA record for most points scored in a game with 61 against Oklahoma back on Jan. 23. Lee has scored 20-or-more points in 15 games this season and has eclipsed the 30-point plateau in a game eight times. Freshman Serena Sundell is putting up 10.6 points per game this season. Sundell leads the Wildcats in 3-pointers with 49 shots made from behind the arc. She is shooting 35.8 percent on 3-point field goals.

K-State is averaging 66.9 points per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the floor. KSU is hitting 28.6 percent of its attempts from behind the arc. Defensively, the Wildcats are giving up 60.4 points per game. The opposition is hitting 37.7 percent from the floor against Kansas State this season while connecting on 31.4 percent from behind the arc.

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