High hopes for WSU women’s hoops at Pac-12 media day

Charlisse Leger-Walker, Bella Murekatete, Kamie Ethridge represent WSU in San Francisco



WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State in Beasley Coliseum, Feb. 18.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports editor

The best in Pac-12 women’s basketball descended upon San Francisco on Tuesday for the 2022 Pac-12 Media Day.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge was joined by her two stars Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete in the bay to meet the media and preview the 2022-23 season.

The official pre-season Pac-12 poll projected WSU women’s hoops to finish seventh in the conference, one year after they secured their first first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament in program history.

In a conference as competitive as the Pac-12, home to the defending national runner-up and 2021 national champion Stanford, it is high praise.

WSU women’s basketball is coming off a season where they set program records in overall wins (19) and conference wins (11).

Earlier in October, Ethridge signed a contract extension that keeps her in Pullman through the 2026-27 season.

Hopes are high in Pullman, especially because much of the same core that qualified for two consecutive NCAA tournaments for the first time in program history, is still on the team.

Ethridge has four of her previous season’s starters still on the team with the only departure being Krystal Leger-Walker.

Her sister, Charlisse remains on the team. Along with Murekatete, Johanna Teder, Ula Motuga and sophomore Tara Wallack and most of the roster from last year.

Krystal’s leadership and voice will be missed, but Charlisse’s voice has grown in her absence, Ethridge said.

“[Krystal] was our on-court floor general,” Charlisse said. “Not having her voice there for me personally means I really do have to step into that role and take on more of that leadership.”

Murekatete was named to Lisa Leslie Award watch list. The award is presented annually to the best center in Division-I women’s basketball.

“It means that people are watching and you gotta prove that you are cable of being on that list,” Murekatete said.

Ethridge praised her team shouting out Wallack on several occasions.

“Tara Wallack is a tremendous player, she had a great summer and is going to be a big factor for our team,” Ethridge said.

The Cougs hit the hardwood in an exhibition game against Westmont at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Beasley Coliseum in Pullman.