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Women's Basketball falls to No. 9/13 UCLA at Beasley

Jan 22, 2023

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State women's basketball team had five players score double-digit points against No. 9/13-ranked UCLA Sunday, Jan. 22, but it wasn't enough to lift the Cougars past the Bruins, as WSU was handed a 73-66 defeat at Beasley Coliseum.

Freshman Astera Tuhina led Cougars in scoring against the No. 9/13-ranked team in the nation, as the guard from Kosovo scored a career-high 15 points and picked up three steals. Senior Bella Murekatete, junior Jessica Clarke, and sophomore Tara Wallack each registered 11 points each, while senior Johanna Teder chipped in 10 points. It is the second time over the last three games that Washington State has had five players score double-digit points in a game.

The loss to the Bruins pushes Washington State's overall record to 13-6, while WSU is now 3-4 in Pac-12 play. For the fourth time this season, the Cougars were without leading scorer Charlisse Leger-Walker, who returned to her home country of New Zealand to deal with a personal family matter. Her status is day-to-day.

Washington State shot 42.1 percent from the floor against UCLA, while the Bruins shot 42.6 percent in the game. WSU collected eight 3-point field goals in the game, as the Cougars have now made at least one 3-pointer in each of their last 82 games.

The Cougars trailed the Bruins a 20-12 lead over Washington State at the end of the first. Washington State chipped away at the UCLA lead in the second stanza, as the Cougars used a 10-2 run late in the second quarter to take a one-point lead at 28-27 after senior Emma Nankervis hit a layup with 3:23 before halftime. The two teams were knotted up at 30-30 in the closing seconds of the second, but UCLA ended the stanza with a layup right before the halftime buzzer sounded to give the Bruins a 32-30 advantage going into the locker room.

Washington State tied the game up on its first possession of the third quarter, but UCLA would score eight of the game's next 11 points to take a five-point lead over the Cougs at 40-35. Tuhina sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give Washington State a 43-42 advantage with 4:50 in the third quarter. The Bruins answered Tuhina's pair of triples with two-consecutive 3-pointers of their own and added a pair of free throws to take a 50-43 lead. UCLA maintained its seven-point advantage for the remainder of the third, as the Cougars trailed the No. 9/13-ranked team in the nation 57-50 heading into the fourth quarter.

UCLA pushed its advantage to as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Cougars had one final push in them, as WSU went on an 8-0 run, capped off by a Motuga 3-pointer, to pull the Cougs to within three at 67-64 with 2:51 remaining. The two teams would trade baskets over the next two possession before the Bruins string together enough free throws to keep the Cougars at bay and walk out of Beasley Coliseum with a 73-66 win.

Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on the Result
"That was a really good team we just played. They are finding ways to win. They are gritty and tough and can really change the game with how they guard. They picked up the pressure on us in the second half and I think that affected us. Credit to them, they are really good. They put people in spots that they are not use to guard and I think that was the different in the game today. They made us guard their bigs from the 3-point line, which I think is something that really hurt us. I'm not afraid of where we are. We are eight games into (Pac-12) play and I think we're better than we've ever been as a team, and as a program, and I look forward to seeing what we can do on the road next week and for the rest of the season."

Coug Notes
- Washington State has its two-game home winning streak against UCLA snapped with today's loss to the Bruins.
- WSU is now 10-60 all-time against UCLA.
- WSU falls to 0-4 this season in games without Charlisse Leger-Walker.
- Washington State is now 1-2 against top-25 ranked teams this season.
- Washington State had five players score double-digit points in the loss to UCLA. It is the third time this season that WSU has had five or more players score double-digit points in a game.
- The Cougars move to 10-1 this season when having four or more players score double-digit points.
- Freshman Astera Tuhina scored a career-high 15 points in the loss to the Bruins.
- Junior Jessica Clarke records double-digit points for the second time over the last three games with an 11-point performance. It is also Clarke's third career game with 10 or more points.
- Senior Bella Murekatete extends her double-digit scoring streak to seven games with an 11-point performance. It is Murekatete's 47th career game at WSU scoring double figures.
- Johanna Teder records her 28th career game at Washington State with 10 or more points with a 10-point outing against UCLA.
- The Cougars are now 23-5 all-time when Teder scores 10 or more points.

Up Next
Washington State hits the road next week, as they open a two-game road trip with a matchup at Arizona State Friday, Jan. 27. Tip-off against the Sun Devils is set for 5 p.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.

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