WSU splits Oregon road trip

Freshman guard Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 46 points during two game span



Sophomore guard Johanna Teder dribbles the ball at the top of the key.

DANIEL SHURR, Evergreen reporter

The WSU women’s basketball team just returned from a four-game road trip, where they traveled through California and into Oregon.

While in Oregon, the team made stops in Eugene and Corvallis to take on the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers.

In Eugene, home of the Ducks, the Cougars were out for revenge on UO, the team that handed WSU their first loss of the year. The team fell to UO once more, with a score of  58-50.

Oregon drew first blood in Matthew Knight Arena, but the Leger-Walker sisters found each other on back-to-back possessions to help WSU take a lead.

The Cougars built on their lead to score twelve unanswered points. Defensively after allowing the first points of the game, WSU held Oregon scoreless for eight minutes. At the end of one, WSU led 14-5.

Oregon started taking more high percentage shots, and WSU started off strong against those takes as well.

Despite the lead, WSU was failing to connect on shots, a familiar sight for the Cougs on the road. Oregon, however, was able to connect on four buckets in a row and began to chip away at WSU’s lead.

Oregon was only shooting at 33 percent from the floor, but WSU was unable to capitalize on the Ducks’ cold streak, as they were only shooting 30 percent themselves.

As Oregon grew closer, Washington State began connecting on shots to keep their lead. Oregon kept it tight, but WSU led 24-21 going into halftime.

WSU scored 12 points in both the first quarter and the second; neither team was lighting it up on the scoreboard. WSU hung their hat on the defense as they marched into the locker room.

Sophomore center Bella Murekatete scored the first points of the second half for the Cougs, using her 6’3″ frame to force her way inside the paint for two.

As WSU heated up, so did the Ducks, and after a low scoring first half, the shots started falling for both sides.

WSU only allowed two three-pointers throughout the first three quarters. Threes have been a vital part of the Oregon offense this season.

“[Oregon] never got it going,” head coach Kamie Ethridge said.

The third quarter ended in a 38-38 tie, but Oregon took the lead early in the final quarter with an inside two.

WSU finished the game shooting 26% from the floor and made only one of their last eleven shots from the floor.

Once Washington State lost the lead, they never got it back, and the team lost another tough road game 58-50 against the No. 13 Oregon Ducks.

“You have to have more than two people scoring in double digits, and we have to score more than 50 points,” Ethridge said.

With that, WSU dropped their third game in a row but was forced to quickly forget about it, as they had one more stop to make on their way back home.

After a tough Oregon team, WSU made the drive to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers. The last time WSU and OSU played, OSU was ranked as the 21st team in the nation, and WSU defeated them 61-55. That gave the Cougars their first win over a ranked opponent this season.

“I don’t feel any pressure about this one,” Ethridge said before the Oregon State game. “We’re a good team, and we have a chance to be a great team.”

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored the first points of the game, but that was of little importance, as Oregon State quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead.

WSU connected on a handful of shots in the first quarter, but a lot of their takes didn’t result in makes. That has been a reoccurring theme for the Cougs during this road trip.

WSU ended the first quarter down by six, with a score of 19-13.

The second quarter was a breath of fresh air for the Cougars, they scored fifteen points while limiting the Beavers to twelve points from the floor.

The elite WSU defense was struggling against Oregon State’s leading scorer, senior guard Aleah Goodman, who dropped fifteen points on the Cougars throughout the first two quarters of play.

The WSU offense shot a mere 32.4% in the first half, but that was still enough to chip away at the Oregon State lead and finish the first half down by only one possession. WSU trailed 31-28, but had momentum on their side.

As the third quarter commenced, WSU quickly gained the lead with a three by redshirt senior guard Krystal Leger-Walker, followed by two free throws by Charlisse Leger-Walker on the ensuing possession.

WSU held the Beavers scoreless from the floor for four and a half minutes in the third quarter, and that gave WSU time to extend their lead to two possessions.

But the Beavers kept it close, and the Cougars entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead.

The fourth quarter was back and forth, as soon as Oregon State would tie the game, WSU would pull back ahead.

This ping pong action lasted until the final thirty seconds when Oregon state tied it up at 58 apiece.

It was WSU’s ball when OSU fouled Krystal Leger-Walker, forcing the Cougs to inbound the ball with five seconds left.

In typical WSU fashion, the final seconds ticked off the clock, and for the third time in the last four games, they were headed into overtime, this time tied at 58 apiece.

WSU scored first in the overtime period, finally cracking 60 points.

The mini-game of ping pong from the fourth quarter continued into the overtime period, and every time the possession arrow changed, so did the lead.

With a minute left, junior guard Cherilyn Molina tied the game with a corner three and locked the game up at 70 apiece.

But a fifth quarter wasn’t enough, and after an additional five minutes, we were headed into a second overtime period.

The Cougars led for the majority of the second overtime, and as the clock hit zero, WSU was on the right side of the scoreboard, as the Cougs hung on to win 77-75 in double overtime.

“This one was tough tonight,” Ethridge said. “But I love our competitiveness.”

This win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Cougars, who are now tasked with hosting the No.5 Stanford Cardinal on Wednesday and Friday.