The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cougs vs. Dawgs: women’s basketball Apple Cup returns to Pullman, Sunday

WSU hosts UW at 1 p.m. Sunday
WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker drives toward the basket during the second half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game against UW, Friday, Jan. 28, in Beasley Coliseum.

Sunday brings the No. 21 WSU Cougars’ first Pac-12 conference match up of the season. They will face an undefeated Washington Huskies team which won their first eight games by an average margin of 29.5 points.

The Huskies were tested for the first time this season by Montana State, Tuesday in a game they won 55-50.

“Our schedule was built for the growth and experience that we would need to be ready to compete,” UW head coach Tina Langley said. “If we had stepped out on the floor against that to start the season, I don’t think we would have had the experience necessary to compete and then we could get discouraged.”

With six ranked teams in the top 11 and a collective record of 87-12 the Pac-12 Conference is the winningest conference in college women’s basketball.

The Huskies rank eighth in the Pac-12 with 72. Nine points per game, right behind the Cougs’ who ranked seventh with 78.9 points per game.

UW has allowed the fewest points on average all season in the Pac-12 with 46.1 points allowed per game whereas the Cougs rank second in the Conference with 55.6 points allowed per game.

This can be chalked up to the Huskies’ opponents having a combined 26-45 record, with only two teams holding a winning record, according to the Seattle Times.

Nonetheless, like their football team, the Huskies are winning, holding their best start since 1997–98.

The Cougs are also off to a hot start, 10-1 for the first time since 1978–79, having beaten now-No. 23 Gonzaga 77-72 (OT) in Beasley and formerly ranked and women’s basketball cultural linchpin Maryland, 87-67 in Cancun.

Wazzu has exhibited a remarkable knack for scoring with six players averaging 8.0 + points per game and three (Bella Murekatete, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Eleonora Villa) in double figures.

WSU lost its lone game 59-48 to Green Bay on the final day of the Cancun Challenge.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge said teams will begin to play WSU the way Green Bay played them, slowing down the tempo.

In that loss, the Cougs shot a season-low 34% from the floor with only two players (Leger-Walker and Tara Wallack) scoring in double figures and no one else scoring more than 5 points.

“The lesson is the game is brutal if you don’t treat it right, and if you don’t do the things that it requires,” Ethridge said.

To avoid another “Green Bay” type performance versus WSU’s Big Ten-bound rival, the Cougs know they cannot be complacent.

“We just don’t have time to be complacent and not be on edge all the time,” Leger-Walker said.

The Cougs are 12-36 all-time versus UW, but have won the last six of seven meetings. Last year in Seattle, Leger-Walker scored a career-high 40 points, but the Cougs lost 82-66, Dec. 11, 2022.  In the rematch a month later (Jan. 8) WSU won 66-52.

WSU hosts the Huskies at 1 p.m. Sunday at Beasley Coliseum. Those that cannot be at Beasley can watch on Pac-12 Washington.

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.