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Cougs score the program's largest comeback win in a 69-63 victory at Portland

Dec 7, 2022

PORTLAND – The Washington State women's basketball team completed the largest comeback in program history as the Cougars rallied from a 19-point deficit at Portland Wednesday, Dec. 7, to pick up a 69-63 victory over the Pilots at the Chiles Center.

The Cougars got off to a cold start and trailed Portland 27-8 after the Pilots hit a pair of free throws with 5:40 remaining in the game. Washington State would start the historic comeback from that point, as WSU trimmed its deficit to 11 points at the break after fifth-year senior Ula Motuga sank a 3-point heave from five feet behind the halfcourt line at the buzzer to make it 35-24 at the break.

Washington State cut Portland's lead to single digits to open the third quarter, as sophomore Tara Wallack's 3-point basket made it an 8-point game. The Pilots would jump back out to a double-digit lead, but the Cougars would use a 12-0 run midway through the frame to tie the game up at 43-all with 3:09 left to play in the third. WSU would get back-to-back layups from senior Bella Murekatete to give the Cougs their first lead of the game at 47-45, but Portland would get a 3-point field goal to take a one-point lead heading into the night's final frame.

After trading baskets through the first seven minutes of the decisive fourth quarter Portland held a one-point lead at 58-57 with 2:56 remaining in the game. Freshman Astera Tuhina hit a pair of clutch free throws with 2:29 left to play to give Washington State a 59-58 lead. Tuhina would play the role of closer down the stretch for WSU, as she scored eight of her 12 points over the final two and a half minutes of game time to clinch the largest comeback in Washington State women's basketball history. The 19-point come-from-behind victory bests the 18-point comeback for the Cougs against Washington back on Jan. 9, 1993, to defeat the Huskies, 75-72, in overtime.

The victory marks Washington State's first win over Portland since Nov. 29, 1985 and snaps a five-game losing streak to the Pilots. WSU moves to 7-1 on the year, as the Cougars are off to their best start since the 2015-16 season when the Cougars started the year 8-1.

Junior Charlisse Leger-Walker had to battle foul trouble during the first two quarters, as she was forced to the bench after collecting three fouls through the first 15:20 of game time. The guard was able to score 11 points over the final two quarters of play to end with a game-high 15 points. Leger-Walker was just a rebound shy of posting her first double-double of the season, as the guard from Waikato, New Zealand pulled down a game-best nine caroms.

Leger-Walker was one of four Cougars that scored double-digit points. Murekatete followed with a 14-point performance and added a career-high six steals to her ledger. Senior Johanna Teder chipped in 13 points while Tuhina tallied 12 points in the victory.

The Cougars shot 46.3 percent from the floor and an even better 46.7 percent on 3-point field goals. Washington State hit seven shots from behind the arc, five of which came over the final 20 minutes of play.

Coug Notes
- Washington State improves to 2-6 all-time against Portland.
- The win over Portland snaps a five-game losing streak to the Pilots and gives WSU its first win over Portland since an 84-71 win on Nov. 29, 1985 in the Rose City.
- WSU improves to 3-1 against the West Coast Conference this season.
- Charlisse Leger-Walker extends her double-digit scoring streak to nine-straight games with a 15-point performance.
- Leger-Walker has now scored 10 or more points in 54 career games at WSU.
- With her lone 3-point field goal, Leger-Walker moved into a tie with Borislava Hristova for 10th on WSU's all-time 3-point field goals made list with 127 career 3-pointers.
- Fifth-year senior Ula Motuga matched her career-high in assists tonight with six tonight.
- Johanna Teder extends her double-digit scoring streak to five games with a 13-point effort against Portland.
- Washington State improves to 18-5 all-time when Johanna Teder scores 10 or more points.
- Teder scored double-digit points for the 22nd time in her WSU career.
- Bella Murekatete extends her double-digit scoring streak to four games with a 14-point effort. It is Murekatete's 38th career game scoring double figures.
- Astera Tuhina scores double-digit points for the second time in her WSU career with a 12-point outing against Portland.

Up Next
Washington State now jumps into Pac-12 Conference play, as the Cougars are set to take on Washington this Sunday in Seattle. Tip-off in this Boeing Apple Cup Series matchup is set for 2 p.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Network.

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