Good afternoon, Coug fans!
Sorry for the delay on this article, you can go ahead and blame me. Our friend and fellow contributor Nick Nordi wrote earlier today about how disappointing it is to see that after this weekend’s historic program win against the University of Oregon (#21/18), your Washington State Women’s Basketball team still remains unranked. Who do I have to call and Karen out on? I will do it.
Jokes aside, this game was incredible, and if you aren’t paying attention to the Women’s Basketball team, first of all- how? Second of all, now is a great time to start. Let’s take a look back on what made this game so important.
The Cougs started strong with a 7-0 lead to kick off the game, but Oregon caught up, bringing the score of the first quarter to 19-14, Cougs. The Ducks took advantage in the second quarter, bringing the score to 29-38.
Things in the third quarter started heating up, and a layup from Jessica Clarke (who, by the way, we will be discussing very shortly) late in the third brought the score to a nail biting 48-48 with 52 seconds left in the quarter. However, a layup with one second to spare from Ula Motuga brought the Cougs down by one point, 50-51. Tara Wallack assisted both!
Washington State was able to take the lead early in the fourth, with a three from Johanna Teder to bring the Cougs up 53-51. WSU maintained that lead for most of the final quarter, but University of Oregon began to break out with a three from Chance Gray with eight seconds left, taking the score to 74-71 Cougs. The fourth quarter winded down with some UO free throws from Grace Van Slotted, and regulation ended 76-76.
Then began overtime, where the Cougs held onto a tight, tight lead, and with a missed jumper from Oregon’s Te-Hina Paopao, Washington State took the game 86-85.
You can watch a very brief video recap of the game here.
Reffing was a huge struggle, and for a school that’s pretty much used to it at this point, for it to have been that noticeable? Good grief. Initially, the refs were letting them play through lots of contact, but once the last five minutes of the game hit, it seemed like the refs were doing everything in their power to turn the tide towards Oregon. Specifically, a bad charge on Johanna Teder in the fourth that just didn’t make any sense. Granted, the Cougs are not without some blame- especially with a handful of rough in bounds turnovers.
Overall it was an excellent team effort, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight a few iconic players specifically.
Bella Murekatete’s speed was huge against Oregon, as most of their bigs were too slow to keep up, and it allowed her to be all over the floor defensively. Bella went 10-16, with 7 rebounds and 20 points. She stepped up defensively when she needed to with 6 defensive rebounds.
Jessica Clarke had herself QUITE the game in the 17 minutes she was on the court. 14 points, 5-7 FGs, and 4 rebounds, it wound up being a career high for the junior! Her performance in overtime was especially amazing, scoring 6 of WSU’s 8 points with just over a minute left to play. She also played well defensively, staying strong in the post against Oregon’s size.
Ula Motuga secured her first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
And of course, Charlisse Leger-Walker got the job done with 17 points, and contributed to what would become an edge of our seats moment, with free throws to bring the game to 85-81, with 25 seconds left.
We can’t forget about Johanna Teder, who had 15 points and a defensive rebound that ended the game 85-84.
Washington State’s next game is January 20th against USC! If you’re able, be there! Go Cougs!