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

Charlisse Leger-Walker commits to UCLA

After a senior season cut short, Leger-Walker will play grad year in Big Ten Conference
WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker (5) dribbles around UCLA guard Camryn Brown (35) during the second half of an NCAA collegiate basketball game, Feb. 11. 2022

The next stage of Charlisse Leger-Walker’s college basketball career will begin where her WSU career ended.

The third all-time leading scorer in WSU women’s basketball history announced on her X and Instagram accounts that she will transfer to UCLA for her grad year. The 2024–25 season will be the Bruins first in the Big Ten Conference.

Charlisse averaged 16.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 105 career games at WSU and posted  1,743 career points. Her 199 3-pointers are the second-most in program history.

The three-time All-American and four-time All-Pac-12 shooting guard intended to go pro after four years of college basketball at WSU and had her sights set on the WNBA.

However, her senior season, and WSU on-court career, ended where her grad year will begin— Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Charlisse suffered a season-ending knee injury when the Cougars held a 16-point lead in the third quarter of WSU’s 85-82 upset victory over then-No. 2 UCLA. The Bruins feasted on her absence, scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter, but the Cougs held on to win on what head coach Kamie Ethridge called the “saddest happy day.”

Charlisse replaces Phoenix Mercury’s first-round pick Charisma Osborne in the Bruins backcourt. The fifth-year guard from New Zealand will seek to help UCLA contend for the National Championship.

Entering her 14th year in Westwood, UCLA head coach Cori Close returns a remarkably talented roster and for the second straight year secures a prominent Pac-12 transfer after Stanford’s Lauren Betts joined the Bruins last season.

In addition to Betts, UCLA returns All-Pac-12 guard Kiki Rice.

Charlisse guided the Cougs to three straight NCAA Tournaments in her Pac-12 Freshman of the Year 2020–21 season and All-Conference 2021–22 season and her Ann Meyers Drysdale Award finalist 2022–23 season.

The Cougs struggled with Charlisse sidelined, but still almost made the tournament, instead earning the No. 1 seed in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament.

“Charlisse walked into this program as a freshman and impacted it and changed it forever,” Ethridge said.

Leger-Walker comes from New Zealand basketball royalty, as her mom Leanne Walker played on the Tall Ferns, New Zealand’s women’s basketball national team in two Olympics (2002 and 2004) and now serves as the assistant coach for the team.

Her sister Krystal Leger-Walker, a two-year WSU starter, also plays on the team. Charlisse was set to help the Tall Ferns reach the 2024 Olympics, which would have been the Ferns’ first Olympics since 2008. Her ACL injury occurred two weeks prior to their Olympic qualifying tournament.

Charlisse’s grad year at UCLA will put her on the same Big Ten Conference stage that Caitlin Clark dominated for four years setting her up for WNBA prospects. The Ferns will set their sights on the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

The class that Charlisse committed to WSU with, including Johana Teder and Jessica Clarke are moving on from WSU and teammates she grew up with such as WNBA-bound Bella Murekatete and Ula Motuga have used all five years of their eligibility.

“My goal was always to finish four years here and really try and help turn this program around,” Charlisse said.

Charlisse was true to her word and left WSU as the most successful student-athlete in program history.

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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.
HAILEE SPEIR, Evergreen photo editor
Hailee Speir is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Hailee is a junior English education major from Spokane, Washington. Hailee started working for the Evergreen in fall 2021 as a photographer.