It was yet another Cardiac Coug victory. Arizona State (12-10, 4-6 in Pac-12) got within three with 52 seconds to go. The teams traded some free throws over the next 30 seconds with Krystal Leger-Walker putting WSU (17-8, 9-5) up five with her own pair of free throws. Jaddan Simmons drove inside into an open lane but Bella Murekatete blocked Simmons’ lay-up attempt, bouncing off ASU and turning the ball back over to WSU, which iced the game on a Johanna Teder layup.
The win, paired with the Utah loss to USC on Friday, now pushes WSU to a comfortable one game up on the Utes for the coveted fourth spot in the Pac-12.
WSU’s got out the gate red-hot, hitting four threes in the first quarter. Two of them from Teder, who has found her stride as of late. Jade Loville did nearly all the scoring for the Sun Devils in the first quarter, scoring 12 of the ASU 14 including a pair of threes. With Charlisse in early foul trouble, the Cougars called upon freshman Tara Wallack to take her spot. Wallack played exceptional, scoring seven points all in the first half. The Cougar lead was four entering the break.
The Cougs looked to be poised to pull away early in the second half with the Leger-Walker sisters combining for a 7-0 run to push the WSU lead to eight followed by some buckets in the paint from Murekatete and Charlisse to give WSU’s its largest lead of nine. Simmons brought ASU right back into it with a personal 7-0 run to pull within one and an Imogen Greensdale fastbreak layup off a WSU turnover gave ASU the lead. Murekatete sent WSU into the final quarter with a narrow one-point lead on a nifty move inside with 5 seconds to go.
Murekatete picked up right where she left off in the final quarter, scoring the first four points. Loville got her 18th point of the game to cap off a 6-0 ASU run to push the Sun Devils right back in front by 1. A Teder three gave WSU the lead right back 47 seconds later and Ula Motuga converted a tough and-one to push WSU’s lead back to five. But Loville brought the Sun Devils back within a single point with 2:35 to go and set the stage for yet another Cardiac Cougs game.
WSU upped the level of difficulty when Charlisse fouled out chasing a loose ball off a WSU turnover with 2:09 to go.
Teder got the clutch bucket with 1:11 left with a smooth elbow jumper to get WSU back to a three-point lead. Simmons could only get one of two free throws to fall for ASU and the game quickly became a free throw competition to see who would blink first. Teder nailed both of her free throws but Simmons got the layup to go on the other end. Motuga could only get one of hers to fall and the Cougars accidentally fouled ASU with 0:29 to go on the rebound. Mael Gilles missed the back end of her two free throws, handing the ball back to WSU.
Cold as ever, Krystal hit her two free throws to push WSU’s lead to five. Not wanting to commit a foul, WSU gave Simmons an open lane to the bucket. But Murekatete came up from behind and swatted Simmons lay-up attempt. The rejection bounced off a Sun Devil and out of bounds to give WSU the ball back. Out of the timeout, Motuga got the ball into a wide open Teder who banked in the dagger layup with just 15 seconds to go. Murekatete added one more block to end the game on ASU’s final shot and the Cardiac Cougs did it again.
Once again, this team just wills its way to a win. Coming back and fighting off any late ASU comeback attempt by knocking home free throws and getting clutch stops on the other end. Teder was the story tonight for WSU. She played in all 40 minutes and scored 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and cashed four treys. Murekatete was dominant in the paint, scoring 12 points, grabbing five rebounds and adding a trio of blocks.
It will be the final game in Beasley for a trio of Cougar greats this Sunday afternoon for Senior Day against the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats.