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

Sour first half poisons Cougars pursuit of Apple Cup, WSU falls to UW 60-55

WSU makes one first-quarter shot, Huskies hit seven 3-pointers
“Yeah, there’s no way to explain it. It’s just embarrassing,” senior center Bella Murekatete said about WSU women’s basketball’s’ 2-point first quarter versus the UW Huskies, Dec. 10 in Pullman, Wash.

The Cougs made one shot in the first quarter. The Huskies made more than one.

“Yeah, there’s no way to explain it. It’s just embarrassing,” senior center Bella Murekatete said.

The then-No. 21 WSU Cougars (10-2, 0-1 Pac-12) turned a 20-point halftime deficit into a 2-point deficit before falling 60-55 to the Washington Huskies (10-0, 1-0 Pac-12) in the final Pullman edition of the Apple Cup as Pac-12 rivals Sunday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougs created excellent opportunities for themselves in the first quarter but started 0-for-6 from the floor and finished 1-for-15 from the floor in the first quarter– a 6.7% clip.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge said her assistant coaches keep stats on the quality of shots the team takes.

“We got some really good looks and didn’t make any, there’s no excuse for it,” Ethridge said. “You’re just not going to win games scoring two points in a quarter.”

Bella Murekatete is rejected by Dalayah Daniels in the first quarter of the Apple Cup, Dec. 10, in Pullman, Wash.

Wazzu’s defense held strong as UW used every second of the shot clock, holding the ball past the buzzer on their second possession before Dalayah Daniels made a layup on the Huskies’ thrid possession.

Murekatete made the lone Cougar basket of the first quarter but was 1-for-6.

“That’s every single unacceptable thing you could do,” Murekatete said. “There’s no way of explaining — We can’t have a quarter like that.”

In the second quarter, WSU shot a respectable 53% but could not match the Huskies’ blistering 27 second-quarter points at a 77% shooting clip from the floor. 

The Huskies brought the torrential downpour of the past few days from the west side by making six first-half threes. One could even call it a purple reign.

In her first game back, senior center Jessica Clarke came off the bench to provide 7 second-quarter points and two rebounds. 

With her back to the basket, Clarke took two dribbles, pump faked and then turned around and made the shot, collecting the and-1 on her way to the basket. Clarke nailed the free throw and no one seemed to love it more than Bella who chest-bumped Clarke when she got back to the bench.

Ethridge said her staff will continue to help Clarke get back into form but was pleased with how she performed in her first game back. 

“She gave us some good scoring punch off the bench,” Ethridge said.

Jessica Clarke shoots while Dalayah Daniels attempts to block her shot during WSU women’s basketball’s 60-55 loss to UW, Dec. 10 in Pullman, Wash.

In the third quarter, the Cougs emerged from halftime with the drive and focus Coug fans are far more familiar with.

Charlisse Leger-Walker went scoreless in the first half but disrupted the Huskies’ flow with a steal and found the foul line on three separate occasions, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the line.

The Cougs entered the final 10 minutes down by 11.

To start the fourth quarter, WSU and UW traded turnovers before WSU sophomore Kyra Gardener attempted a 3-pointer that rimmed out. Gardner, the WIAA darling from Raymond, had the chance to light the spark that led to UW’s downfall.

Unfortunately for the Cougs, that was not in the cards. 

Tara Wallack hit the Cougs’ first shot of the fourth to cut the UW lead to nine.

Murekatete helped the Cougs keep their foot on the gas as she scored 12 in the fourth quarter alone and grabbed two rebounds.

Leger-Walker was the most valuable player on the court in the fourth quarter with a plus/minus of 7. She scored 4 points and grabbed two steals but drew three personal fouls, much to the displeasure of Ethridge who disputed the call with the referee late in the game.

Charlisse Leger-Walker shoots a layup during WSU women’s basketball’s 60-55 loss to UW Dec. 10 in Pullman, Wash.

Despite the Cougars’ best second-half efforts, they could not overcome a disastrous first half and perhaps the worst offensive quarter in program history.

“It is really frustrating knowing. you know, that we don’t even really recognize who that is,” Leger-Walker said. “And that first half and just kind of showing or proving to ourselves, you know that we’re so much better than that. And so, losing this way, sucks.”

Ethridge said the Cougs once again approached this game with a lack of intensity. Comments she made two weeks ago when addressing WSU’s first loss to Green Bay.

“You got to beat your guy and you got to have a savage approach. And, you know, I think you can lose that real real quick. And that’s why you need great, great, great leadership from your team that doesn’t let the team slip at all in that area,” Ethridge said. “I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

Kamie Ethridge reacts to a questionable call by the refs, Dec. 10, in Pullman, Wash.

UW shot above their season averages to stay undefeated. After winning their first eight games by an average of 29.5 points, the Huskies have played two straight five-point games, beating Montana State 55-50 in Seattle and leaving Pullman with a 60-55 dub.

Five Huskies scored points as three reached double figures. Sophomore Hannah Stines led the Huskies with 21 points and nine rebounds, including three 3-pointers. Fifth-year Lauren Schwartz also posted 20 points and three 3-pointers. Daniels scored 11 points with five rebounds.

Hannah Stines early in the first quarter of the Pullman edition of the Apple Cup, Dec. 10, in Pullman, Wash.

“They keep you honest. And if you’re not on your edge, if you don’t come as hungry as [them], they’re gonna embarrass you just like they did to us.”

With finals week right around the corner for WSU, a crowd of approximately 1,455 turned out. It was WSU women’s basketball’s second-best crowd of the year, behind their Gonzaga crowd of  1,587, Nov. 9.

“It was really exciting to be there. And we’re very very, very very, very sorry that we couldn’t like, give you guys a win and we hope you guys can come back and give us a second chance with this big crowd,” Murekatete said.

Bella Murekatete collides with Chloe Briggs in the paint as she rises to score, Dec. 10, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU next takes the court for a clash of Cougars at 2 p.m. Sunday versus the Houston Cougars at Beasley Coliseum.

More to Discover
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.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
EMMA DECASA, Evergreen photographer
Emma Decasa is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, she is a junior majoring in Advertising, with a minor in Sports Communication. Emma started working for the Daily Evergreen in the fall of 2023.