Another slow start in the first half led to another comeback win for the Cougar women (8-1) as they held off an upset bid by Boise State (3-6) on Sunday afternoon. Charlisse Leger-Walker led all scorers with 23 points; she also scored the final four points of the game to secure the victory for WSU.
With a scoring drought that was over three minutes long, and the Broncos on an 8-2 run, the Cougars needed a defensive stop and a bucket to put the game away. Charlisse stepped up as she forced a turnover and then nailed the transition layup to push Washington State’s lead back to five with 29.5 seconds left on the clock.
Charlisse was fouled on WSU’s next offensive possession and she sank both free throws to reach the final margin.
The Broncos had cut the Cougar lead to three with an 8-2 run that was fueled by consistently penetrating the WSU defense and getting into the paint. It was a run that was started by a Elodie Lalotte jumper after a beautiful pass from Abby Muse. Washington State’s defense was particularly venerable to drives made by Mary Kay Naro down the stretch.
It should be noted that Johanna Teder left the game with an apparent leg injury in the middle of the fourth quarter as she made an aggressive play for the ball on defense. The junior did not return.
Boise State’s run had been preceded by five unanswered points for WSU to open up the fourth quarter. It was a continuation of the dominant third quarter that had given Washington State its first lead since the beginning of the game.
Charlisse started to find holes in the BSU defense, and her shots started falling, as the Cougars opened up the third quarter with a 16-5 run through its first eight minutes. The Cougar offense would end up scoring the final three points of the quarter to take a 51-47 lead into the final quarter.
Washington State ended up with the final possession of the half. The Cougs got the ball into Charlisse’s hands but the jumper was missed and Ula Motuga was able to pull down the rebound; but the clock had already expired. That final possession marked the end to an 8-0 run for Boise State that gave it a 38-29 lead as both teams headed into the half time locker room.
The Bronco’s run had been started by Anna Ostlie’s made three point jumper, she would hit another one less than two minutes later. It didn’t seem to matter what the Cougar defense attempted to do, the Broncos kept finding and hitting their shots on the offensive end of the court. Meanwhile, WSU couldn’t buy a bucket even though the offense got into several beneficial shots. The final Boise State bucket of the game was a Leonidas layup with 12 seconds left on the clock.
That Boise State run followed a 10-0 run for the Cougars that had briefly gotten them the lead back when Motuga hit a layup to make it 29-28 Washington State with 3:28 left in the half. Unfortunately that Cougar lead didn’t last long as Ostlie’s three came 27 seconds later.
It took that run in the second quarter to dig WSU out of the hole it was in after the first quarter ended. Krystal Leger-Walker had score the last three points of the first quarter — a layup and one — to get Washington State within eight of the Broncos at the quarter break. But that quarter had been all BSU as the Broncos closed out the final five minutes of the quarter on a 18-7 run before Krystal’s final three points at the end of the quarter.
Next up for the Cougar women is a trip to Provo, Utah to face No. 17 BYU on December 18th at 11:00 AM.
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Photo Credit: WSU Athletic Communications