WSU continues tough schedule in Tucson

WSU ranked 76th in NCAA



WSU guard Johanna Teder (21) dribbles the ball towards the basket during a college basketball game against the University of San Francisco in Beasley Coliseum, Dec. 3, 2021.

KAT MCKINNEY-ROLEY, Evergreen reporter

The WSU women’s basketball team is traveling to Arizona to take on the No. 4/5 Wildcats of the University of Arizona today. 

Arizona is 10-0 in nonconference play. The game against the Cougs will be the Wildcats’ first Pac-12 contest of the season. WSU is 9-4 overall with all losses coming against top-25 ranked teams. 

The Cougs have won eight of their last 14 games against Arizona. WSU has struggled as of late in Tucson, last winning in 2018 by a score of 78-60. Arizona has started to take the women’s basketball world by storm with NCAA tournament appearances and making runs into the tournament as well. Last season, the Cougs beat the No. 7/10 Wildcats in overtime on Jan. 10, 2021, in Pullman. The Cougars won last season’s game by just two points. 

All eyes are falling on WSU’s Charlisse Leger-Walker this season. Leger-Walker was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for the 2021 season. She is looking to have a bigger and better sophomore season and is off to a great start.

In fact, both Leger-Walker sisters are having great seasons so far. Older sister and redshirt fifth-year Krystal Leger-Walker has played the second most minutes per game in the Pac-12, averaging 34.49 minutes. Charlisse Leger-Walker is first in the Pac-12 for minutes played averaging 36.24 per game. The younger Leger-Walker is also the Pac-12 leader in points with 226 so far. She is ranked 39th in the NCAA for total points. 

The Cougs are one of the best shot-blocking teams in the country. The Cougars are led on defense by junior center Bella Murekatete with 26 blocks, ranking her second in the Pac-12. Freshman guard Tara Wallack is ranked eighth in the Pac-12 with 15 blocks. Overall, the team is ranked 19th in the country with 68 blocks. 

Arizona has not played since Dec. 17 due to COVID-19 issues. Senior Cate Reese is the Wildcats’ top scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game while the team averages 74.0 points per game. Reese also averages 5.9 rebounds a game and is among one of the best defensive players for the Wildcats. 

The Wildcats have held their opponents to an average of 49.7 points per game. Arizona’s perimeter defense heavily contributes to low-scoring opponents shooting just 33 percent from behind the three-point line. The Wildcats defense also forces about 21 turnovers a game. 

The Arizona game will be WSU’s second ranked opponent in the last week, previously losing to No. 2 Stanford. 

The Cougars have not had many COVID-19 issues on their side of the ball this season. However, WSU’s trip to Arizona is going to be cut short due to the Sun Devils of Arizona State postponing their game against WSU that was scheduled for this Sunday.

You can watch the Cougs take on the Wildcats at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.