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Cougs use second-half surge to bury the Huskies, 61-52

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The Washington State Cougars overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to beat their rival Washington Huskies on Sunday.

PULLMAN, WA - FEBRUARY 28: Washington State forward Ula Motuga (15) yells after hitting a three point shot during the second half of a Boeing Apple Cup Series matchup between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars on February 28, 2021, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Led by 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists from Johanna Teder, the Washington State Cougars took down the Washington Huskies, 61-52, on Sunday afternoon. The win pushes the Cougs to 11-10 (9-10) on the year, with the Pac-12 Tournament and a potential NCAA tournament bid looming.

WSU trailed by as many as 11 in the second half but scored 30 of the final 40 points to turn what could have been a devastating loss into a comfortable victory, completing the regular-season sweep of their rivals.

Teder started the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer off a head-fake and sidestep dribble on WSU’s second possession. She followed it up with another two possessions later to push WSU’s lead to 6-0 and drawing an early Washington timeout.

PULLMAN, WA - FEBRUARY 28: Washington State guard Johanna Teder (21) drives to the hoop during the second half of a Boeing Apple Cup Series matchup between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars on February 28, 2021, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

WSU’s offense would stall out of the timeout, allowing UW to pull back to 6-5. That’s when Charlisse Leger-Walker asserted herself by taking a bump but finishing with a foul. She’d uncharacteristically miss the free throw. Emma Nankeris followed with a putback on the Washington State’s next possession, and Teder would take a rebound down the court for a foul and a free throw to restore the Cougs’ lead.

Teder added an assist to Nankervis and a third 3-pointer, giving WSU its biggest lead yet at 16-9. However, Washington would come back with five points to end the first quarter at 16-14.

The Huskies came out with four more to start the second quarter and take their first lead of the game. That lead would continue to grow, reaching as high as 29-22 before Krystal Leger-Walker finally ended a long WSU scoring drought with a 3-pointer. Washington answered right back with a pair of 3s of their own, sandwiching a Teder jumper, giving the Huskies an eight-point lead going into halftime.

Washington continued to control the game to begin the second half, pushing its lead to 11 in the opening minutes.

However, WSU answered with a 14-0 run, highlighted by a stepback 3-pointer from Charlisse, a fourth Teder 3 from 25 feet, and a Bella Murekatete finish at the bucket to give the Cougs their first lead of the second half.

Nankervis opened the fourth with a pair of buckets, and Teder added two free throws to push Wazzu’s advantage to seven at 49-44. Washington continued to hit from long range to keep it close, pulling within 54-52 after 3s on back-to-back possessions. The Huskies wouldn’t score again.

The Cougs responded. Murekatete finished off a nice interior feed from Charlisse, and Teder buried her fifth 3-pointer, giving WSU a 59-52 lead at the final media timeout. Charlisse would cap the scoring with a runner, icing the game with less than two minutes to play.

That put Charlisse at 13 points for the day—sadly, one point shy of the Pac-12 scoring title (if my math is correct). More importantly, her team got a win that was critical for its NCAA tournament hopes.

The Pac-12 Tournament is next.