WSU women’s basketball faces San Francisco Friday, host Prairie View A&M, Sunday

Travels to Bay Friday, hosts Prairie View A&M



WSU center Bella Murekatete jumps for a layup during an NCAA women’s basketball game against LMU, Nov. 7.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

Riding high off the largest margin of victory in two years, WSU women’s basketball will make a quick trip to the Bay Area to play University of San Francisco and immediately return to Pullman to host the Southwest Athletic Conference’s Praire View A&M.

The Cougars’ 93-41 win over Loloyla Marymount was about as good a start to the season as WSU could have hoped for.

The formula for victory that head coach Kamie Ethridge layed out was fulfilled. Four players scored in double digits and the Cougs scored well above their team target of 80 points. Every player that touched the court scored at least once.

The Cougs drained 11 threes. Ula Motuga was nearly automatic from beyond the arc as she hit a career-high five threes and only missed one.

Bella Murekatete was incredible. She led the team with 18 points and blazed her own trail to the basket on multiple occasions.

When the Cougs leading scorer Murkatete succeeds the entire team succeeds. Ethridge made it clear that the program needed Murkatete to become a dominant center in order to win at the level they want to win.

Charlisse Leger-Walker started the year strong scoring 16 points, six assists and seven rebounds.

WSU’s incredible performance on Monday was truly a whole team effort as

Charlisse had been back on the Palouse for only two weeks after playing in New Zealand and visiting the Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco. Her absence gave sophomore Tara Wallack more opportunities to play on the court in practice after missing summer practice because she was on the Canadian National Team.

While she was on the Canadian National Team over the summer, Wallack did not get as much playing time and conditioning opportunity as she would have gotten had she been at summer practice, Ethridge said.

While this missed time did present itself in the form of several missed layups on Monday, Wallack remained in a better spot at the start of her sophomore year than she was at the end of last season.

Of the three active true freshmen, Astera Tuhina turned heads with her work ethic and talent. She is from Kosovo where she plays on the National Team. Tuhina is learning to play college basketball in a different language.

Her teammates and coaches fondly refer to Tuhina as AT.

“AT has pretty much been a sponge,” Motuga said. “She’s absorbed everything that we’re throwing at her. We often forget that she’s learning concepts and schemes in a different language. At times she might look at us a bit confused but I also think she has a really bright future ahead.”

The Pac-12 / SWAC Legacy Series is an educational partnership between the two conferences in which Pac-12 basketball teams will play SWAC teams. The series aims not only to provide for athletic competition but also a forum for education on the ideas of anti-racism and social justice.

“We want it to be an educational experience for our coaches and for our players and the people in our program,” Ethridge said.

Both WSU and Prairie View A&M will get to meet each other during a post game potluck.

Ethridge had not personally scouted Prairie View A&M as of Wednesday but said she has a scout taking a look at the team.

With each school having played only one or two games during the first week, team scouts are in a scramble trying to compile as much intel as possible on their next opponent, Ethridge said.

“I’m spending a lot of time on San Francisco personally and I want my team to be thinking that,” Ethridge said.

Similar to Cougs, Prairie View A&M beat their first opponent by over 50 points in its first game.

Both games will be broadcast