PULLMAN — Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker made a left-handed scoop shot in traffic at the buzzer in overtime to give the Washington State women’s basketball team a 71-69 victory over No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.
“Those who know me, know I don’t get too high or too low, but when I made that shot I was so high,” she said. “Just to get that final shot to go in was so amazing and I’m so glad my teammates had the trust in me to let me try and make that play.”
It wasn’t her only key play, either.
Leger-Walker made a layup with two seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 60, converting after a pass from sister Krystal Leger-Walker.
“It doesn’t take a very smart coach at all to know to put the ball into Charlisse’s hands,” WSU coach Kamie Ethridge said. “That was the plan, both at the end of regulation and at the end of the game.”
The sisters from New Zealand combined for eight of the Cougars’ 11 points in overtime.
WSU (7-1 overall, 5-1 Pac-12), which was predicted to finish last in the conference this season, beat a top-10 team for the first time since an 82-73 victory over No. 9 UCLA on Jan. 6, 2017. Arizona is the highest-ranked team to ever lose to the Cougars.
“I couldn’t be happier for our team,” Ethridge said. “I’m so happy for the players that have been here and that have taken a lot of lumps. I see the progress they’ve been making and I just love this team.
“We got behind 16 points, but our team never got down (on itself). We simplified a lot of what we were doing, made them guard us in space, and played downhill a little bit more.”
The Cougars went on an 11-3 run to make the score 57-all with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter.
Charlisse Leger-Walker finished with 17 points and five assists. Krystal Leger-Walker had 14 points and nine assists. Bella Murekatete added 14 points for the Cougars.
Arizona (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) shot 11% in the fourth quarter, allowing the Cougars to come back.
Aari McDonald, who started her college career at Washington, had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.
“They gave us a really tough time in the second half,” said Arizona coach Adia Barnes, a former player for the WNBA Seattle Storm. “It was a tough break but it has to be a learning lesson for our team. We made some tough shots down the stretch but it wasn’t enough.”
WSU is tied for its best start to Pac-12 play in program history. The Cougars last went 5-1 to open conference play during the 2013-14 season.
9th-ranked UCLA women rollLOS ANGELES — Natalie Chou scored a career-high 28 points and the No. 9 UCLA women cruised to a 92-67 victory over Utah.
Chou was 11 of 14 from the field. Her previous high in points was 22 in 2017 while playing for Baylor.
The Bruins (7-2, 5-2 Pac-12) were playing their first game in a week because of COVID-19 issues and had only four players able to practice for some of last week.
Kemery Martín led Utah (3-7, 2-7) with 18 points.
• Kylee Watson scored a career high 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and the 11th-ranked Oregon women obliterated California 100-41.
Oregon (9-2, 7-2 Pac-12) shot 52.5% from the field.
Ugonne Onyiah scored 13 points for Cal (0-10, 0-7).
South Carolina women win in SECLEXINGTON, Ky. — Destanni Henderson scored 22 points and Aliyah Boston added 20 as the No. 5 South Carolina women rallied for a 75-70 victory over No. 10 Kentucky.
The Gamecocks (8-1, 3-0 Southeastern) trailed 41-32 at halftime and 54-46 late in the third before closing that quarter with an 11-2 run.
Rhyne Howard scored 32 points for the Wildcats (9-3, 2-2).
• Jordan Nixon made a running shot with 0.4 seconds left, lifting the No. 8 Texas A&M women over No. 13 Arkansas 74-73.
Aaliyah Wilson, who transferred from Arkansas to Texas A&M, led the Aggies with 27 points.
• Kianna Smith scored 17 points and the No. 2 Louisville women beat visiting Clemson 70-45.
Iowa men prevailIOWA CITY, Iowa — Luka Garza scored 33 points and Jordan Bohannon had a double-double for the No. 5 Iowa men in an 86-71 victory over 16th-ranked Minnesota.
Bohannon had 19 points, a career-high 14 assists and zero turnovers as the Hawkeyes avenged a 102-95 overtime loss to Minnesota on Christmas Day.