An 11-0 run after the third quarter’s media timeout led Washington State women’s basketball (3-0) to a 73-59 victory over Idaho (1-2) in the 41st edition of the women’s Battle of the Palouse. Four Cougars scored double in the double digits in what was a balanced offensive attack.
As we came out of the third media timeout, Tara Wallack drove to hit a midrange jumper which pushed the Cougar lead to five. Johanna Teder attempted a three pointer off of a steal, but it rolled off the rim. Bella Muraketete hauled in the rebound and Charlisse drew a foul — it was Kirby’s third of the game. The sophomore hit both free throws to give Washington State a seven point lead at 47-40.
Unfortunately Charlisse drew her third foul when she tried to pick Louise Forysth’s pocket. Beyonce Bea fired off a shot but it didn’t fall which forced a Idaho timeout with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
Out of the Vandals’ timeout, Krystal hit a wide open three pointer to push the Cougar lead to 10. After a missed Vandals shot, Teder drove into the paint and drew a controversial blocking charge — it was Allison Kirby’s fourth of the game and she was pulled because of the foul trouble. Teder hit one of the two free throws to make it 51-40 WSU as the Cougs were on a 11-0 run.
Idaho’s follow-up possession was empty as the Cougars got a couple of shots off on their offensive end of the court but neither of them fell. Teder was hit with a traveling call as WSU had back-to-back empty possessions. Forsyth responded with a contested three that missed. But the Vandals’ came down with the rebound and fed it to Sydney Gandy who hit her own three to cut the deficit to eight.
Murekatete hit a lay-up to get the lead back to 10 for WSU. The post player was fouled on the offensive end of the court; she went to the line and hit one of her two attempts to make it 54-43 Washington State.
An empty Idaho possession gave Washington State the last shot in the third quarter. Teder missed the three, and the tip from Wallack didn’t fall at the buzzer as WSU took a 54-43 lead into the fourth.
The fourth quarter started off with a misfired pass for Idaho and then a midrange jumper from Grace Sarver to push the lead to 13. After an empty Idaho possession, Charlisse recovered a loose ball and hit a turnaround jumper as the Cougs fired the first four points of the final quarter.
Sarver fouled Forsyth which sent the fifth year senior to the foul line; she hit one of the two shots from the stripe. It was her first point since the three pointer right at the halftime buzzer.
Charlisse drove into the paint and was fouled by Bea. The sophomore hit the free throw to complete the three point lead as WSU’s lead pushed to 17. A blank Idaho possession led to a missed Sarver three pointer. Idaho then tipped the pass out of bounds; it was fed to Teder in front of the Cougar bench. She nailed the three pointer as Washington State led 64-44.
Wallack hit a two point shot to get into double digits and to give her squad a 22-point lead. The Vandals took a timeout.
Out of the timeout, a brilliant pass fed the ball to Bea in the paint. She was fouled by Wallack and hit both of her free throws to cut the Cougar lead to 20. Charlisse traveled on the next possession as Idaho got the ball back and quickly hit a three pointer.
Washington State responded with a quick possession and a two pointer for Sarver (her 12th point of the game) to make it 68-48. On the next Idaho possession, Charlisse picked up her fourth foul (with 5:49 left in the game) as Bea went to the line and drained one of her attempts from the charity stripe.
A sloppy offensive possession for Washington State resulted in a turnover. Idaho was unable to capitalize, despite an offensive rebound, as the Vandals came up empty.
Forsyth went to the free throw line on a controversial foul call; but she only hit one of the two shots to make it 68-50 WSU. Krystal was called for an offensive foul. But Idaho quickly turned it over and it turned into free throws for Murekatete by Kirby — her fifth and final foul. Murekatete missed the first free throw, but nailed the second.
She then came up with her third block of the game on the defensive end of the court. While Gandy missed a three pointer, Johnson didn’t miss it after the offensive board was recovered by Idaho. The Vandals got a transition bucket by Forsyth to cut the Cougar lead to 14.
But Murekatete wasn’t done as she hit a lay-up on the Cougars next possession to give her 10 points and the double-double. Idaho got a jumper of its own to stay with in 15 as both sides swapped buckets. The final 81 seconds we’re played with the benches as both squads emptied the benches.
A pair of missed shots from WSU resulted in an Idaho possession off an offensive board. Forsyth hit a three pointer to give us the final margin.
The second half began with Washington State inbounding the ball. A quick feed into Murekatete in the post led to an easy lay-up. A quick turnover by the Vandals led to another attempted layup in the post, but it wasn’t good. Fortunately, Idaho’s pass on the other side ended up out of bounds.
WSU fed Murekatete for the third straight possession in the post and she turned it into another easy bucket as the Cougar lead was pushed out to three at 36-33.
Kirby drove right down an empty lane to hit an easy layup to cut the Cougar lead to one on Idaho’s next possession. A couple of missed shots for WSU ended up with Teder drew a foul as she drove down the lane. Teder missed one of her two free throws (she was 1-4 from the stripe at this point).
On the defensive end of the court, Murekatete used her size to force an awkward shot from Johnson. Unfortunately the Cougar possession ended with another turnover and Gandy made them pay with her second three pointer to make it 38-37 Idaho.
Teder responded with her own three pointer to put her squad back in front. But the Cougar defense fouled Kirby; with a pair of made free throws, the scandals tied it at 40. The Cougs fed the hot hand again as Teder hit her second straight three pointer to retake the lead. The defense forced a turnover but overthrew the pass on the fast break which lead to a Vandal possession.
Forsyth tried to draw a block, but was called for a charge to get the ball back into WSU’s hands at the third quarter media timeout.
Out of the second media timeout, the ball squirted out of bounds and Idaho got the ball of the turnover. Charlisse founded Johnson at the top of the net for her first personal foul, and WSU’s second of the quarter. Since it wasn’t on the shot, it was an inbound pass that Krystal quickly broke up and got to her sister for a missed three point attempt.
Johnson drained her third three pointer of the game to give Idaho a 26-24 lead. But Michaela Jones responded with her own three to point WSU back up by one — it was the Cougar bench’s 15th point of the game. Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long as jumper but Idaho back up by one.
A blocked shot by the Cougs prevented Idaho from widening its lead. On the Vandals’ second straight three point attempt, the Cougars were fouled on the rebound. Jones hit Charlisse near the base line, she used her speed to cut up the lane and hit a jumper; the sophomore was fouled and she was able to complete the three point play from the charity Arielle to make it 30-28 with 1:33 left in the second quarter.
Tenor hit a lay-up in transition to push the Cougar lead to four. Teder fouled Bea on a pass, and Forsyth hit a mid range jumper to cut the WSU lead in half.
After an empty offense possession for the Cougars, Idah was down with getting the last shot. Forsyth hit a buzzer beater three to make it a 33-32 Idaho at the half.
The second quarter started with both squads hitting two pointers. Jones then nailed a mid-range jumper right after she came off the bench to put WSU on a 5-0 run at 22-17. Unfortunately Johnson was fouled as she shot which led to a pair of free throws for Idaho, she hit both to cut the lead to three.
Kirby dominated the paint as she drove past her defender on a beautiful screen to hit a beautiful layup to make it 22-21 Washington State. Charlisse responded with a little too much on the offensive end of the court and it went behind the back board. The Cougar scoring drought continued as a missed turnaround jumper turned into a missed three point shot for Idaho.
An impressive offensive board for Idaho ended with zero points after Gandy’s shot bounced off of the rim. Washington State’s two point shot from near the arc was a little too short. The combined scoring drought ended with a jumper for Bea.
Charlisse finally got on the board with a beautiful move in the paint before she fired off her shot to give the Cougs back the lead. On the Cougs’ next offensive possession a foul led us into the media timeout with 4:14 left before half time.
Out of the first media timeout Idaho took the ball right into the paint and Forsyth hit a layup to give Idaho a 9-8 lead. That lead didn’t last long as Krystal hit a jumper to put Washington State back into the lead. A three pointer for Gandy made it 12-10 for the Vandals as they continued to punish Washington State’s turnovers.
Charlisse fed Clarke with a beautiful pass underneath her defender and it led to an easy jump shot in the paint to tie the game at 12 with around 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Good defense led to a turnover and then Clarke was fed the ball in the paint again. She hit a hook shot to make it 14-12 Washington State. Both sides turned over the ball on their next possessions as the defense’s buckled down. Johnson hit a contested three to make it 15-14 after the Cougars had another foul near the free throw line in on the rebound.
Clarke hit a lay-up which was followed by a Krystal jumper to give Washington State an 18-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Washington State won the opening tip but the Vandals quickly forced a turnover which turned into an easy lay-up. Krystal responded with a layup to knot it up at two. Wallack hit a wide open three to give WSU its first lead of the game as the defense continued to stifle Idaho.
A pair of Vandal turnovers kept them off of the score board until Bea hit a jump shot to cut the Cougar lead to one. The Cougars committed an on floor foul which was then followed by Idaho missing a couple of jump shots. On the offensive side of the court, Wallack drove to the net and was fouled as the shot rolled in; the freshmen hit the free throw to make it 8-4 WSU.
On a quick turnover, the Cougars tried to push it down court with a quick pass but it was tapped out f bounds by the Vandals. Unfortunately the offensive possession came up empty as Johnson was fed the ball as Idaho got the ball back. She hit a tee to make it 8-7 WSU.
Charlisse took a pass in the pain but the ball dribbled off of her foot to make turn it over as the game headed into its first media timeout.
Post game thoughts
- The adjustment to feed Murekatete after halftime was a brilliant move by the coaching staff. Idaho wasn’t able to counter her in the paint and it opened up the offense.
- Idaho did a lot of good work on the defensive end of the court to limit Charlisse’s productivity in the first half. But as all dominant athletes do, she was still able to influence the game and get her own as she ended with with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assist.
- Jones came off of the bench and got the offense going in the first half. While she only ended up with seven points in the game, it’s unlikely that the first half score is so close without her production.
- Of Washington State’s 15 turnovers, seven of them came in the first quarter. In the end, the Cougars turned it over on 21.7% of their possessions; which isn’t great but its not awful either.
- 60% from the free throw line is not gonna fly all that well in Pac-12 play. It didn’t matter today, but it’s something that the Cougs are gonna have to clean up. Especially as they head to the Bahamas to take on Miami.
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Photo Credit: WSU women’s hoops