For the second time this season — and the fourth time in WSU history — Charlisse Leger-Walker has made history.
With 15 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, Leger-Walker recorded her second triple-double in 24 days while the Washington State Cougars disposed of the Houston Cougars in a 95-48 blowout victory on Sunday afternoon.
“All credit to my team, making shots, boxing out to allow me to go get the ball.” Leger-Walker said.
“She had a great week of practice, got in some extra shots, I think she’s feeling better and better about her shots.” Kamie Ethridge said. “Just a tremendous performance from her and I want her to always be a double-double, but I’d love to be able to start saying lets go get a triple-double every time too.”
On Thanksgiving day, Leger-Walker joined Penny Bowden as the only two players in program history to record a triple-double. Prior to that performance, Bowden had the only two triple-doubles in program history, recording both in the 1987-88 season. Now Leger-Walker joins her as the only players with multiple triple-doubles, and she still has another 18 games to notch another to pass Bowden for the most.
“I can only get assists when people make shots and I think today the girls shot great from the three-point line, people were getting out and running and I was able to find them in transition a lot and that helped my assist numbers.” Leger-Walker said. “For me personally, I’ve been trying to go in with a bigger mindset to rebound and get on the boards, especially when we have guards who can get out and run and I can go in and help out the bigs a lot, especially when I’m playing the four spot.”
Leger-Walker wasn’t the only one filling up the stat sheets with WSU (11-2) scoring the second most points they’ve scored all season. Houston (8-2) kept things close early but quickly fell behind and could never find an answer for WSU’s offensive onslaught.
The game opened in entertaining fashion with both offenses playing at a fast tempo and Houston’s full court press bring high intensity from the get-go. Bria Patterson knocked home a trey exactly at the halfway point in the first quarter to make it a WSU 14-13 lead. The math would tell us we’d be on pace for a combined 216 points after that bucket and with the way the offenses were breaking down the defenses early, that didn’t seem too far-fetched. Houston knocked down a free throw to tie it on the next possession, but that would ultimately be the last time this game was really close. To close the quarter, Tara Wallack cashed a jumper and a layup in transition, off a Leger-Walker dime, Jenna Villa knocked down a triple and Ele Villa closed the 9-0 run inside with a bucket before the horn.
Houston answered with a few buckets of their own, but were met with WSU resistance after each one to keep Houston from breaking within seven. With 5:19 to go, the WSU offense exploded to blow this game wide open. To start, Leger-Walker fought through the contact for an and-one. A minute later, she cashed in a lay-up off a Houston turnover to put WSU up 15. Ele Villa banked in a layup to extend the run and turned defense into offense soon after, grabbing a steal and getting it to Wallack for a fast break bucket. Wallack did it herself on the very next possession with a steal and bucket to push WSU up by 21. Leger-Walker got in on the fun with her own steal and bucket and capped off the dominant 15-0 run with one more jumper. N’yah Boyd ended the six minute scoring drought for Houston with two seconds left to send WSU into half up 23.
Towards the end of the third quarter, WSU again put on another dominant display with a 13-2 run ignited by a Astera Tuhina trey and capped by a Jenna Villa trey at the buzzer.
With Leger-Walker on the verge of history, Ethridge left the senior in to start the fourth quarter to grab the last two rebounds she needed to complete her second career triple-double.
- !!!— WSU Cougar Women's (@WSUCougarWBB) December 17, 2023
Charlisse Leger-Walker nabs her second triple-double of the season!
The only other 2 triple doubles in program history were also in the same season by the same person, Penny Bowden in the 87-88 season!#GoCougs | #CougsVsEverybody pic.twitter.com/eCISuW03Rx
“I didn’t actually know until [Tuhina] told me that I needed two more rebounds when I went back on.” Leger-Walker said.
Many of Ethridge’s starters remained in the game throughout the fourth, including Bella Murekatete, Tuhina and Wallack to rack up some style points. The group, including contributions from Alex Covill, both the Villas and Kyra Gardner combined for a second double digit to nothing run, this time a 17-0 — apart of an even bigger 22-3 run — put WSU up by a game-high 49 points.
Wallack and Jenna Villa ended the game with a career highs in points, 21 and 18 respectively. Leger-Walker, Tuhina and Ele Villa also recorded double-digit points for a total of five Cougs in double-digits.
“I just think we changed our mindset during the week of practices and we had a tough week, so going into this game we were relentless and knowing we wanted to win.” Wallack said.
“We have to feel good about how we came out in this game. I think we were on edge, it’s how we need to play, it’s how we need to compete, it’s how we need to treat whoever we are playing on any given night.” Ethridge said.