Kamie Ethridge captures 150th win as D-I head coach, Cougars win 70-60

Leger-Walker scores 25 points, becomes 11th highest scorer in WSU program history



WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker goes up for a shot during an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen managing editor

Head coach Kamie Ethridge’s 150th career victory was a pretty standard Wazzu win.

WSU women’s basketball (16-7, 6-6 Pac-12,) with two ranked road wins so far in the 2022–23 season have established themselves as a rising star in the Pac-12 Conference, took care of business against the California Golden Bears (11-12, 2-10 Pac-12).

WSU women’s basketball head coach Kamie Ethridge talks to the WSU bench during an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

No one on the team is worried about Charlisse Leger-Walker’s shooting. Despite missing all 13 of her shots against Arizona and scoring only 8 points against Stanford, the junior guard proved she is still one of the best scorers in the nation, even after two off-games.

Leger-Walker scored 25 points on a 50% clip and added five assists and three rebounds.

Half of Leger-Walker’s 18 shots were 3-point attempts and of those, she sank four for an outstanding 44% clip from deep.

With a contested path, Leger-Walker pitched the ball to Ula Motuga, who took two authoritative dribbles down the court before pitching the ball right back to a now wide-open Leger-Walker on the left side of the court for the Cougar’s first 3 points of the day.

“Charlisse isn’t worried about her game and I’m not worried about her game and her teammates aren’t worried about her shooting. We know it’s going to come back,” Ethridge said.

WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker dribbles the ball during an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

This meticulous WSU offense would make several more appearances throughout the day but Cal had some tricks of their own including Michelle Onyiah, who blocked Bella Murekatete’s shot and promptly made a shot of her own.

In 11 minutes of play, Onyiah racked up the second-most Golden Bear rebounds on the day with four but turned the ball over three times.

Murekatete had one of her quieter scoring games with just 4 points, three rebounds and an assist, a block and a steal, but her lone assist was highlight-worthy.

WSU center Bella Murekatete drives to the hoop during an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Late in the first quarter, Murekatete flung the ball past two unsuspecting Golden Bears and straight into a wide-open Motuga’s hands for the easy shot. The Cougars shot well, but the Golden Bears would not hibernate just yet, as the score would be tied 12-12 after the first quarter and be 28-26, Cal at halftime.

The Cougars kept it close with the Golden Bears in the first half, but finally pulled ahead with a terrific third quarter, in which they shot a blistering 62.5% from the floor in their best offensive quarter of the day.

Freshman Lauren Glazier turned in another solid performance after her 6-point game against a top-ten Stanford team earned her more minutes against Cal. In six minutes, she scored another 6 points and added an offensive rebound. When she was in the game, she accounted for 6 of the Cougs 9 points.

Johanna Teder celebrated her birthday with two 3-point shots as part of an 8-point day.

Tara Wallack emerged with plus-minus on par with Leger-Waker’s (10), meaning the team led by a net of 10 points when Wallack was on the court.

Wallack was a solid contributor Sunday, but saw some bad decisions and missed shots keep her from having a great day.

Ethridge appreciated her team’s decision-making in scoring immediately when they beat Cal’s press rather than holding onto the ball and seeing those scoring opportunities disappear like they had done earlier in the year.

“I want us to be aggressive if we can break a press and continue to score,” Ethridge said.

Astera Tuhina made herself a fan favorite when she stepped up in Leger-Walker’s absence. Although the Cougars went winless without Leger-Walker they largely stayed in each game thanks to Tuhina’s basketball IQ.

“In my mind [Tuhina is] a starter. It’s nice to have six starters every time, she’s playing the minutes of a starter,” Ethridge said.

Tuhina scored 5 points and added four assists.

WSU guard Astera Tuhina looks for a pass during an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

In perhaps Tuhina’s flashiest assist of the night, she propelled the ball with her left hand past two Golden Bears who pinned her against the sideline. Her pass shot right past three Bear defenders and into Leger-Walker’s hands for the layup.

Tuhina assisted on the shot that pushed Leger-Walker to 1,289 career points and up to 11th on WSU’s All-Time scoring list.

Cal got close in the final minutes of the game, but Wazzu dug in their heels and made the shots they needed to down the stretch.

With victory secure, kids eagerly made their way down the Beasley Colusum steps to step foot on Friel Court where each member of the WSU women’s basketball team awaited to sign their autograph.

WSU guard Johanna Teder and WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker pose with trading cards of themselves during a post game autograph session after an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Ethridge praised her staff’s idea of creating a golden ticket for kids that would get them in the door free.

“It’s big for us in this community to be role models and to take that seriously,” Ethridge said.

Before heading back from the locker room to greet the fans, the Cougars sang happy birthday to Teder.

The Cougars assent toward the regular season’s end nears as the Cougars will face Colorado at 6 p.m. Friday and Utah at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Rocky Mountains.