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Washington State sails past No. 3 Utah, securing spot in Pac-12 Semi-Finals

66-58 never felt so good.

Ashley Davis


This warrants a little extra enthusiasm, not sure if you caught it, but last night your Washington State Women’s Basketball team took down No. 3 Utah to sail their way into the Semi-Finals of the Pac-12 Tournament. This came directly before the Men’s team swept their Apple Cup series, but it’s about the girls today, okay!! (I am equally proud of both teams no one come for me.)

Our hero, our legend, our icon Charlisse Leger-Walker had herself, in no uncertain terms, one hell of a finish. But I won't get ahead of myself.

The first quarter stayed pretty tight, with both teams scoring after the other, trading a lead of a point or two back and forth. Bella Murekatete and Utah’s Alissa Pili shaped up to be a difficult combo to start, which was not exactly a surprise, especially in the evenly matched first quarter.

WSU won the jump to start the second quarter, down 16-13. Unfortunately, Utah took of on a bit of a run, going from 16 to 22 in a matter of minutes. However, thanks to two layups from Murekatete, the Cougs were able to hop back on their feet and hike the score within four points. A foul on Grace Sarver brought the Cougs within 2, and a beautiful 3 from none other than Leger-Walker for the lead, 23-22. Pili answered this with a few free throws (foul by Murekatete), and Utah maintained the lead for the remainder of the half, closing out at 30-26.

But we know there’s no need to panic! That’s the fun part of this process! I can only imagine WSU entering the locker room and deciding “let’s just win by 8”.

While the beginning of the third quarter didn't exactly personify my suspicion noted above, within the last 6 minutes something simply snapped into place for Washington State. It was around this point where Murekatete made a layup, score 37-37, and it was all downhill from there. Johanna Teder landed a layup for the lead, Motuga nailed a 3 to bring them up 42-41, Tara Wallack tipped it in 44-41, Motuga again for 3, CLW for 3, you’re sensing the pattern now aren't you? And to close out the quarter, another 3 for Leger-Walker, and the Cougs would enter the fourth up 53-41.

“But Emma, that isn’t the final score of the game?” You wisely point out. Why yes, you’re correct about that. An entire quarter rarely goes scoreless, and once again I implore you not to panic! For our beloved Washington State Cougars held the lead for the entire fourth quarter. Yes- you’re reading that right.

3 minutes into the 4th, Motuga set the lead 56-44. Utah had some decent looks, but they were no match for the fourth-quarter-Cougs. No, I can’t believe I’m typing that sentence either.

And then finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Coined “the shot of the year” - and I couldn’t agree more, a marvelous 3 by Leger-Walker. Linked below. My dear friend Ashley Davis wisely pointed out that it was at this moment, that Charlisse Leger-Walker called game.

This brought Wazzu up 64-58. “But Emma!!” You interrupt, “that’s still not the final score!!”

I know, I know, okay- I’m getting to it!!!

Utah’s Jenna Johnson turned the ball over, it was stolen by Motuga, who was then fouled by Johnson, and landed two delightful free throws with that precious pre-throw routine she does, bringing the final score to a spectacular 66-58.

So there you have it my friends. What a good night of basketball, indeed.

Tonight, the Cougs will face off against Colorado for a spot in the final. The game is at 8:30 pm PT, and if you have other Friday night plans, I’d advise you to cancel them! Or relocate to a bar that has the Pac-12 Network!

Go, and I cannot stress this enough, Cougs.