Cougars drop both games against Stanford

Freshman guard Charlisse Leger-Walker held to only eight combined points in two games



Sophomore center Bella Murekatete completes a layup during the game against Stanford.

DANIEL SHURR, Evergreen reporter

The WSU women’s basketball team hosted the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal in back-to-back games in Beasley Coliseum, losing both by more than 20 points.

The Cougs are coming off of a 77-75 double-overtime win over the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, Oregon. That win snapped a three-game losing streak on the road. WSU’s last home game was a 71-69 OT win over No.7 Arizona on Jan. 10.

The Cougars have since been on the road for their last four games. Three of those games resulted in losses.

In the team’s first game against Stanford on Wednesday, Jan. 27, Stanford jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.

Sophomore guard Johanna Teder scored the first points for the Cougs with a deep three, but WSU struggled to match the high-flying Cardinal offense.

The Cougars were able to keep their heads above water in the first quarter, but the inability to make shots inevitably hurt the team.

The first quarter ended with a 19-9 Stanford lead.

“We got off to a bad start in the first quarter,” head coach Kamie Ethridge said.

The second quarter was essentially a repeat of the first. Stanford held WSU scoreless for the first five minutes.

The WSU bench saw a lot of playing time in the first half, a possible strategy for the team to “feel out” the No. 6 team in the nation before playing them again in two days.

WSU recorded 15 points from the bench in this one, with junior guard Cherilyn Molina leading all nonstarters in scoring with six points.

Regardless, the Cougars scored nine points in both the first and second quarters. The half ended with a 44-18 Stanford lead.

WSU’s starters played more minutes in the second half, and actually outscored the Cardinal in the final two quarters.

“I was proud with how we responded in the second half,” Ethridge said.

The Cougars scored 31 points in quarters three and four, compared to 27 scored by Stanford in that same amount of time. However, WSU simply could not dig themselves out of the hole they had dug, and at the end of the game, Stanford triumphed 71-49.

“I thought we responded in the right way, but we did it a little bit too late,” Ethridge said. “When you let Stanford score 44 points in a half, you’re not going to beat them.”

Despite the loss, Teder led the Cougs in scoring with 14 points, her second career game where she hit double digits.

Junior forward Ula Motuga recorded her second double-double of the season, with a ten-point, ten-rebound effort against the Cardinal.

Unfortunately for the Cougs, freshman phenom guard Charlisse Leger-Walker’s twelve-game double-digit scoring streak came to an end, as she only scored six points while dishing out three assists.

This lack of productivity by WSU’s leading scorer is due to the fact that she was held scoreless until the fourth quarter; a stat that would need to be broken if WSU wanted to rebound against the top ten team on Friday.

In the second game against Stanford, WSU came out with a fierce start, matching the Stanford offense blow for blow.

Within the first four minutes of the game, WSU found themselves with 12 points on the board, an improvement over the nine points in the entire first quarter the last time these two teams played.

WSU took a lead over the top team in the conference with 3:45 left in the first, with a physical post play by sophomore center Emma Nankervis.

Stanford regained a lead, which was because they held the Cougars scoreless for the final four minutes of the first quarter.

That allowed Stanford to go on an 8-0 run and end the first quarter with a 22-15 lead.

The Cougars started their second game immensely better than their first go around with the Cardinal, but the inability to connect on shots was an unfortunate trend yet again.

The second quarter started with Stanford extending their lead to ten points, WSU ended their six-minute scoring drought with a physical layup by sophomore center Bella Murekatete.

Motuga scored on the ensuing possession, but within the blink of an eye, Stanford was back in firm control with a 10-point lead.

WSU was able to hold Stanford scoreless for three minutes in the second quarter but failed to greatly capitalize on that accomplishment, only scoring two of eight shots on the basket.

WSU missed a golden opportunity to close the gap, and as the first half ended, Stanford was in control of the game, 40-27.

“Credit to Stanford,” Ethridge said. “They are a good team and they’re long and hard to guard.”

Each side turned the ball over within the first thirty seconds, and no one could seem to hold onto the ball.

The mini-game of “hot potato” ended when Murekatete scored the first points of the half, making her the first Coug to hit double-digit points.

Charlisse Leger-Walker finally put her first points on the board with two free throws in the final minute of the third, but after an unimpressive third-quarter WSU trailed 57-41.

The fourth quarter was hard for the Cougs, as it included a three-minute scoring drought, with three WSU turnovers in that time.

Both teams were tired, but Stanford was pouring it on. When the final buzzer rang, the Cougars took their sixth loss of the year, 77-49.

“They taught us a lot about what some of the best teams in the country look, and play like,” Ethridge said. “They’re resilient at what they do.”

The Cougar’s next game was scheduled to be against the California State Golden Bears on January 31st but was postponed. Instead, WSU will host the No. 5 UCLA Bruins on Feb. 5. Tip-off will be at noon from Beasley and can be viewed on the WSU athletics website.