MOSCOW — The Washington State women's basketball team flexed their muscles in the second half Sunday, basically wearing out Idaho in the end.
The Cougars used a 14-2 run midway through the period to take the lead for good, then created some distance in the fourth as they cruised to an 73-59 nonconference victory in the Battle of the Palouse at Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.
"I thought our team adjusted well at half," WSU coach Kamie Ethridge said. "We decided that we might have to switch some things, but we could still guard them one-on-one."
Junior guard Johanna Teder paced the Cougars (3-0) with 13 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard Tara Wallack added 12 points and six rebounds, sophomore super guard Charlisse Leger-Walker was limited to just 12 points but she added eight rebounds and four assists, and junior center Bella Murekatete finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
"Our offense got going because Bella and our post started to run and were getting easy looks," Ethridge said. "I thought it was a great second half by Bella for her to get a double-double. Her presence really helped us win this game."
Senior guard Louise Forsyth had a game-high 18 points on 7-for-19 shooting for the Vandals (1-2). Senior guard Tiana Johnson added 14 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore guard Sydney Gandy had 11 points but was 4-for-18 shooting as Idaho hit just 32.8 percent of its shots (20-for-61) in the game. Junior Beyonce Bea, who was the Big Sky Conference's preseason MVP, was held in check for the second consecutive game, as she finished with just seven points on 2-for-7 shooting.
The teams battled back and forth in a slugfest in the first half, with neither one holding a commanding edge. It was 18-15 Washington State after the first quarter, but Idaho took a 33-32 lead at halftime.
The Cougars took charge in the third. Teder canned a 3-pointer to give Washington State the lead for good at 40-38 with 6:35 left. After Allison Kirby's free throws tied it at 40, Teder followed with her second 3 in 35 seconds, and the Cougs were off.
Wallack hit a jumper after an offensive rebound, Charlisse Leger-Walker finished a pair of free throws, Krystal Leger-Walker hit a 3 and Teder made a free throw that put WSU in front 51-40 with 2:48 remaining in the quarter. The Cougars went to the fourth up 54-43.
Washington State steadily would increase the advantage from there.
"Credit to Idaho," Ethridge said. "They are really a hard team to guard and it's not like we practice or see that style too often. I was surprised at how big they were in certain spots."
The Cougars next will play Miami (Fla.) in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship at 1 p.m. Thursday in Nassau, Bahamas. The Vandals next will play San Francisco in the Nugget Classic at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Reno, Nev.
WASHINGTON STATE (3-0)
Wallack 5-8 1-1 12, Teder 4-9 2-6 13, K. Leger-Walker 3-7 0-0 7, C. Leger-Walker 4-8 4-4 12, Murekatete 5-10 2-4 12, Clarke 3-4 0-0 6, Jones 3-6 0-0 7, Sarver 2-5 0-0 4, Nankervis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 9-15 73.
Forsyth 7-19 2-4 18, Gandy 4-18 0-0 11, Kirby 3-3 2-2 8, Johnson 4-10 2-2 14, Bea 2-7 3-4 7, Alexander 0-1 0-0 0, Allred 0-3 0-0 0, Milne 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 20-61 10-14 59.
Washington State 18 14 22 19—73
Idaho 15 18 10 16—59
3-point goals — Washington State 6-19 (Teder 3-7, Wallack 1-3, K. Leger-Walker 1-3, Jones 1-3, C. Leger-Walker 0-1, Sarver 0-2), Idaho 9-27 (Johnson 4-6, Gandy 3-12, Forysth 2-8, Allred 0-1). Fouled out — Kirby. Rebounds — Washington State 40 (Murekatete 10), Idaho 31 (Johnson 9). Assists — Washington State 15 (K. Leger-Walker 6), Idaho 11 (Gandy 3). Total fouls — Washington State 18, Idaho 13. A — N/A.