PULLMAN, Wash. — Charlisse Leger-Walker is proving herself to be one of the most clutch players in WSU women's basketball history and she's just a freshman.
The New Zealand native rattled off nine straight points for the Cougs to secure a 67-63 win over the #5 team in the country, UCLA, on Friday. The three she hit with 42 seconds left proved to be the biggest shot as it lifted the Cougs over the Bruins 64-63 and WSU would remain in the lead from there on out. Unsurprisingly, Leger-Walker was the game's leading scorer with 28 points.
The Cougs' defense was really the star of the show as they limited UCLA to just 36% field goal percentage and 25% shooting from three.
The win is the program's first win over a top five ranked opponent. It also could secure the team a bid to the NCAA Tournament as they now have wins both over the Bruins and #9 Arizona.
"I just love standing in front of the team and saying it, like, check that one off the list. I'm going to enjoy every moment of the ride up this steep mountain top. It's hard as heck to climb it," said Kamie Ethridge of getting a top five win after the game. "I am well aware of the depths this program has been and how hard it's been to turn it and how much blood, sweat, and tears this group has put into it to try to achieve some of these things. We will mention them, we will celebrate them as long as we can, and they we'll get back to business."
It's been a tough stretch for the Cougs since they beat Arizona a few weeks ago, a team that was ranked #7 at the time. They fell to UCLA and USC in overtime games in LA and fell to #13 Oregon as well. They also were handled easily by #6 Stanford at home in back to back games last week. Their lone win during the stretch was a double overtime affair against Oregon State in Corvallis.
The Cougs are now 8-6 on season. They will face off against USC on Sunday at noon.