Cougars look to get back on track against Ducks

Women’s basketball has dropped their last two games, both in overtime losses



Junior guard Cherilyn Molina dribbles past a defender towards the hoop.

DANIEL SHURR, Evergreen reporter

The WSU women’s basketball team will face the Oregon Ducks at 5 p.m. Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

The Cougars had a rough week after suffering two overtime losses on the road to USC and UCLA. The team now continues their road trip into Oregon, where they will face the Ducks.

“I continue to be amazed at this team’s resilience, fight and playmaking ability to keep the game close,” head coach Kamie Ethridge said.

The team is coming off of back-to-back losses for the first time this year, right after receiving the first Top 25 ranking in program history.

The Cougars (7-3, 5-3) went into overtime three times in a row, the first time in program history that has happened. They lost two of those games, both of which were on the road to California schools.

The Oregon Ducks (9-3, 6-3) lost three of their last four games, all of which were against Pac-12 competition, and all losses resulted from a team that is ranked in the Top 15 in the nation or higher.

This matchup is not the first time University of Oregon and WSU faced off this season. After starting the season 3-0, the Oregon Ducks flocked into Beasley and handed the Cougs their first loss of the season, 69-65 on Dec. 21.

That was the first matchup for the Ducks in which their offense failed to put up 70 points, and the WSU team as a whole was pleased with how their program performed.

“I think it bodes well for our program to be able to go toe to toe with some potential All-Americans,” Ethridge said.

After the initial loss, WSU racked up four straight wins, until the two overtime losses, which now brings us to the present day.

The Ducks have only one loss at home this season which is against the No. 8 UCLA Bruins. 

However, despite the loss, WSU held the Bruins to just 66 points, ten points below their season average. Oregon allowed 73 points in their loss to UCLA.

Since the game against Oregon at Beasley, the Cougar’s offense has gotten better late in games.

WSU scored 70 or more points in five of their last six games, despite consistently slow starts shooting the ball.

“Defensively, we’ve kept ourselves in games, so that’s been the encouraging part,” Ethridge said. “You can’t simulate all the different styles [of defense] that you’re going to see in this league.”

Against UCLA, WSU only scored 21 points in the first half, a season-low for the Cougs.

Part of doing that was neutralizing the team’s leading scorer, freshman guard Charlisse Leger-Walker. The Bruins did just that in the first half.

WSU has passed the ball efficiently over the past few games but has failed to connect on shots from the floor, bringing their total field goal percentage to 42 percent this season.

The team’s three-point percentage has fallen too, hovering at 33 percent. Redshirt senior guard Krystal Leger-Walker leads the team in threes with 21 on the year.

The last time Oregon and WSU played, WSU limited the Ducks from the three-point line and maintained a strong presence inside the paint. That forced Oregon to take shots that were difficult to make, while also giving WSU the best chance at the ensuing rebound.

The WSU defense has stuck with this philosophy, and now just looks to the offense to connect on more baskets.

The game will tip-off at 5 p.m. from Eugene, Oregon. The game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.