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WSU erases historic slow start, beats USC in LA, 71-63

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The Cougars scored just 3 points in the first quarter.

PULLMAN, WA - DECEMBER 12: Washington State Women’s Basketball versus the Boise State Broncos at Beasley Coliseum - Bella Murekatete (55) Jack Ellis/CougCenter

After scoring just three points in the opening quarter, the Washington State Cougars scored a whopping 68 points in the final three quarters to complete a 17-point comeback win over the USC Trojans, 71-63.

After scoring the least amount of points in a quarter in program history to open the game, Washington State (10-5, 2-2 in Pac-12) outscored USC (8-5, 1-2) by 22 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a huge, resumé-building win in Los Angeles. It’s the team’s first win in LA since 2014.

The Cougars were held scoreless for the first 7:58 of the ballgame before Ula Motuga would hit their lone basket of the first quarter, a 3-pointer. USC, meanwhile, took full control of the Cougars’ slow offensive start, building a 17-3 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes of play. The Trojan lead would reach up to 17 with 7:13 to go in the second quarter. Johanna Teder would take over the rest of the quarter from there, scoring six straight points and ending the frame with 10 points, including a pair of threes. Motuga would set her career-high for threes in a game by half when she hit her third 3-pointer to cut the Trojans halftime lead to seven.

Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete would keep the comeback effort rolling to start the third quarter, scoring the Cougars’ first eight points. After WSU drew within three, the defense was able to force a nearly four-minute long scoring drought for the Trojans. In that span, Teder once again came up big for the Cougars. She went on a personal 5-point run that gave the Cougars their first lead of the game.

The prowling Cougar defense was again relentless all throughout the final quarter of play. Another four-minute scoring drought for the Trojans was filled with a Charlisse personal 5-point run that gave the Cougars a 7-point edge. Murekatete would seal the huge comeback victory for the Cougars with a pair of buckets inside in the final two minutes.

After shooting just 7.1% from the field in the first quarter, the ‘Cardiac Cougs’ shot 47.8% the rest of the ballgame. Teder was brilliant for WSU, scoring a team-high 20 points with four 3-pointers. Motuga also added four 3s herself in her best career shooting night from outside. This team, no matter how many obstacles get thrown in their way, continues to dig deep and find impressive ways to battle back and win games.

The Cougars will look to roll the magic into Sunday afternoon when they visit the UCLA Bruins at noon.