Good morning, Coug fans!
Last night was an exciting night for your Washington State Cougars. In the first game of their Pac-12 Tournament, the Cougs advanced past the Cal Bears with an exciting second half, ending the game at 61-49. Let’s break it down.
This win officially puts WSU at a 20 win season! Yet another accomplishment for the endlessly impressive Kamie Ethridge and her staff.
Johanna Teder was the first one to get on the board, after WSU won the jump. However, Cal was quick to tie things up, and the score stalled at 2-2- until a frustrating run from Cal, and a series of missed opportunities held the Cougs down 10-3. Luckily Charlisse Leger-Walker, Bella Murekatete, and Johanna Teder nailed three layups to close the quarter at a much closer 10-9.
The second quarter is where things got a little frustrating. WSU couldn’t quite seem to find the drive, and lulled as a Cal run took the score from 12-11, to 20-13. Jumpers weren’t landing for either team, no one was making any 3s, and eventually the half widdled down to 27-21 with the help of mostly free throws, and the occasional made shot. However, it wasn’t entirely devoid of good moments- as seen below.
The second half started off equally as bumpy, and in the blink of an eye Cal took the score from 27-21 up to 31-23. The tides started turning about halfway through the third quarter for the Cougs, and they were able to pull back up after back to back jumpers from Leger-Walker. This brought WSU into a five point margin. A few turnovers threatened momentum, but Astera Tuhina helped turn things around with a layup and assist on a three from Charlisse. Washington State was down 38-36 at this point, and would chase Cal by 2 until eventually tying the game 40-40. However, there was still time left- and WSU tipped the scale in their favor with a layup from Tara Wallack. WSU was able to hold onto the lead and enter the 4th quarter 43-42.
If you’re like me, at this point your nails were bitten down to the cuticles.
But, we had no reason to fear. The Cougs got their footing early in the 4th, and Jessica Clarke shot the lead up to 50-45. Tuhina shined with a three, followed by a jumper near the elbow with just under 4 minutes left to play, bringing the score up 55-45. Once within that zone, the Cougs locked in, and Murekatete sealed the deal with two separate layups, and a final score of 61-49.
Overall, unsurprisingly, once WSU found their footing the dynamic of the game shifted in their favor!
But they aren’t done yet! The semi-finals are tonight, where Washington State (7) will take on Utah (2) at 6pm Pacific Time, so you better rush on home from your 9-5, and plan accordingly. The last two matchups against the Utes were not exactly ideal (lost both, 66-71 and 59-73 respectfully), but it’s a NEW DAY! The first matchup against Utah, the Cougs were without Charlisse Leger-Walker- and while they had her in the second, and Bella was able to double-double, Utah was simply on another level. Hopefully WSU slept well last night, and are ready for a fight tonight!