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

WSU beats UW in Apple Cup round two

Eleonora Villa scores 16 points, Beyonce Bea delivers double-double
Eleonora Villa takes a shot in WSU women’s basketball’s 60-55 loss to UW, Dec. 10 in Pullman

Only Coug fans remained in the stands following the Cougars’ 73-59 Apple Cup win over the Washington Huskies. Senior center Bella Murekatete, no stranger to being the center of attention, got the attention of the dozens of Coug fans in the stands.

“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! A one-two-three-go Fight fight, fight for Washington State! Ring the victory!”

The entire team stood on the court, singing and clapping along to the WSU Fight Song as dozens of Cougar fans celebrated the reigning Pac-12 Champions’ first Pac-12 win of the 2023–24 season.

WSU women’s basketball (12-5, 1-3 Pac-12) took round two versus the UW Huskies (11-4, 1-3), 72-59 at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle thanks Eleonora Villa’s 16 points, a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double from Washougal, Washington native Beyonce Bea and 10 points each from Murekatete and Arlington, Washington native Jenna Villa.

“We had a lot of fans out there too which made it even better and I think getting a win on their home court especially after, you know, we lost here was even better,” Bea said Monday during the Cougar Basketball Hour.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 12-2 lead less than three minutes into the game thanks partly to a pair of 3-pointers from Lauren Schwartz and Sayvia Sellers.

Freshman Eleonora Villa dribbled in the right wing before she sank a 3-pointer, surrounded by four Huskies. It was the first 3 points of a stand-up 16-point day.

In the absence of sophomore guard Astera Tuhina, who continued to recover from a lower leg injury, Eleonora Villa stepped up as the Cougars’ starting point guard. She sank 7-of-12 shots.

In the first quarter of WSU and UW’s Pullman meeting, the Cougs made one out of 15 shots, scoring just 2 points. The Cougs trailed by 21 near halftime before shrinking the Husky lead to 2 in the game’s final minute.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge said she was most frustrated by the type of shots the Cougs missed, running play-after-play correctly only to bank the shot.

The 6.7% clip from the floor did not repeat itself in Seattle as WSU shot a far from perfect but far more normal 35% in the first quarter in Seattle.

The Huskies came out with a great offensive attack, jumping out to a 12-2 lead after nearly three minutes and leading 18-9 after 10 minutes with a 50% shooting clip from the floor. In the second quarter, the Cougs turned up the intensity, out-scoring the Huskies 17-8. In the closest to home she had ever played in her collegiate career, Jenna Villa sank two 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Second chance points were the Cougars’ downfall last Sunday in Berkeley but proved to be a strength against UW. Cal scored 11 second-chance points versus WSU while UW scored 2, Sunday. The Cougs pulled away from the Huskies in the second half thanks to 17 second-chance points.

“Things that we haven’t always been great at, offensive rebounds and second-chance points, we just dominated,” Ethridge said Monday in the Cougar basketball hour.

Murakatete provided two of the Cougars’ 17 second-chance points as time expired in the first half. Murekatete’s extra effort gave the Cougs the halftime 28-26 lead.

Husky junior Dalyeh Daniels scored 15 of her 23 points in the second half, including her fifth 3-pointer of the season. Elle Ladine scored 14 points while Hannah Stines and Lauren Schwartz, who in December scored 21 and 20 points respectively against the Cougars, scored 7 and 5 points, Sunday.

Tara Wallack scored 9 points for the Cougs, including the first basket of the third quarter and scored 5 points during the Cougars’ 9-0 fourth-quarter run.

Wallack’s third-quarter opening pair of baskets gave WSU a lead they would not concede. The Cougs led the Huskies for the final 17:07 of the game.

The Cougs forced 15 turnovers thanks to five blocks and six steals. Bea and Charlisse Leger-Walker paced the Cougs with two steals apiece.

“I just felt like we were in such great control, defensively, Ethridge said. “We didn’t give them the things they were looking to get. We were really locked in. It’s a good thing for our team, they’re smart, they’re high-IQ, clearly, we were motivated to be a better basketball team than the first time we played them,” Ethridge said Monday in the Cougar basketball hour.

Thirteen months removed from her career-best 40-point performance in Seattle vs. the Huskies in December 2022, Leger-Walker scored 8 points and collected five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.

Although she was far from replicating her scoring total in Alaska Airlines Arena, her basketball wit and skill kept the Cougars on top. Leger-Walker made offensive opportunities for her teammates all afternoon, including leaping out to her right to keep a ball in bounds before she flung it into the waiting arms of Eleonora Villa who sank the floater to put the Cougs up 53-47 with 7:25 to play.

The Cougs continued to pull away thanks to a sizzling 60% shooting clip from the floor. Eleonora Villa showed up and showed out for the Cougs with crisp shots, including a floater courtesy of a well-timed screen from Bea with 5:43 to play. This put the Cougs up by 11. Murekatete and Bea layups followed by Leger-Walker and Eleonora Villa free throws cruised the Cougars to victory.

With the fight song sung and the day won, the Cougs walked out of Seattle with their first Pac-12 Conference win, firmly back on track to achieving their lofty season goals.

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.
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.