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WSU women roll to season opening win over San Jose State, 86-56

Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete each posted 22 in a dominant win to open the season

PULLMAN, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Washington State women’s basketball plays Northwest Nazarene University in an exhibition match at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars won 113-45. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Before tipping things off this season, the Washington State women’s basketball team raised a new and improved NCAA Tournament banner above Friel Court. The banner honoring WSU’s 1991 NCAA Tournament team has been revised to include the 2021 Cougs after their amazing run to the big dance last season. Just moments after the ceremony came to an end, the Cougs started their quest to add another year to that banner.

The Cougs played host to San Jose State in their season opener Tuesday night. WSU got off to a slow start after some sloppy play early on. But, in the end, WSU rolled to an 86-56 victory over SJSU in the season opener.

The story of the game was a career night from junior Bella Murekatete. Despite leaving the game for a short period in the second quarter with an injury, Murekatete returned and dominated the game. She posted a career high 22 points on 11 of 17 from the floor. The junior also added 7 rebounds in just 25 minutes on the floor. A lot of her work was done inside, but the junior also showed off her short-ranger jumper as well.

Murekatete was impressive on Tuesday, but she wasn’t the only one. Charlisse Leger-Walker matched her team-high with 22 points, including a trio of deep balls. Ula Motuga was the only other player to break into double figures in the victory, finishing with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Freshman Tara Wallack also played well in her regular season debut with 9 points and 5 rebounds.

The Cougs jumped out to a slim early lead in the opening quarter, but the Spartans took advantage of some sloppy ball handling to fight back. WSU turned the ball over 13 times in the first two quarters and SJSU went on a 12-3 run to take their first lead of the game in the second quarter. The lead was short-lived, however. Krystal Leger-Walker hit a three-pointer 15 seconds later to put the Cougs back on top, and they never looked back.

Washington State took a 10 point lead into the half and ran away from there. They committed just 2 turnovers in the 2nd half and outscored the Spartans by 10 points in both the 3rd and 4th quarters. The Cougs also shot more than 52 percent from the floor in the 2nd half, while holding San Jose State to 32 percent.

The win marked a successful doubleheader for Cougar men and women to tip-off the season. They’ll have the chance to pull off the sweep once again Friday night. The Cougar women will start the doubleheader at 2 p.m. Friday against Northern Arizona. The men will also look to move to 2-0 on the season at 7 p.m. when they host Seattle U on the Pac-12 Network.

A Banner Night for the Cougs in Season-Opening Win over San Jose State - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – It was a banner night for the Washington State women's basketball team in its 2021-22 season opener against San Jose State, as the Cougars cruised to an 86-56 victory.

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