Charlisse Leger-Walker engineers incredible comeback

Cougars overcome 15 point deficit to win 69-63

WSU+guard+Charlisse+Leger-Walker+drives+to+the+hoop+during+an+NCAA+womens+basketball+game+against+Prairie+View+A%26M%2C+Nov.+13.+2022

COLE QUINN

WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker drives to the hoop during an NCAA women’s basketball game against Prairie View A&M, Nov. 13. 2022

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports editor

After a record-setting opening day win, WSU women’s basketball overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the San Francisco Dons 69-63.

While WSU’s first victory checked both of head coach Kamie Ethridge’s boxes with four players scoring in double figures and the Cougs scoring over 90 points, the second victory required the fourth-largest comeback in program history.

The Dons out-scored the Cougs 38-23 in the first half. An intense halftime adjustment led WSU to out-scoring the Dons 46-25. The second half included a 21-2 run to throw themselves back into the game.

“I thought it was a gritty performance in the second half,” Ethridge said. “Credit to San Francisco, they are a hard team to play and a hard to prepare for. We had to regroup and it was really good to see our team respond the way they did.”

The comeback was a team effort largely energized by a monster 35-point performance from Charlisse Leger-Walker.

Leger-Walker put the team on her back. She generated over half of the Cougar’s offensive output by points and scored 26 of their 46 second-half points. She engineered a greater share than is probably healthy, a nonetheless astonishing feat.

Only one other Coug scored in double digits as Bella Murekatete turned in a solid performance in the second installment of her strong start to the 2022-23 season.

Murekatete was 7-11 for a total of 16 points. She also secured seven rebounds.

Tara Wallack who is supposed to play a larger role in the team made only one of her six shots from the field and was 2-4 from the free-throw line.

She was, however, a rebounding machine, tying Murakatete for the team lead in rebounds with seven.

Ula Motuga and Astera Tuhina each took a lot of shots (Motuga seven, Tuhina 10) but both came away with only seven points off of three baskets.

Every other Coug came away from the Bay empty-handed.

While the Cougs had a lot of issues scoring, the defensive effort by the team and the unbelievable offensive explosion from the lethal Leger-Walker and Murekatete duo allowed the Cougs to win.

“This is why you play these kinds of teams, it helps you prepare for things that can happen later in the season,” Ethridge said.

On Sunday, WSU won a game in a much more comfortable fashion, never trailing after three minutes and winning by 28 points over Prairie View A&M.