NASSAU, Bahamas — Sophomore guard Charlisse Leger-Walker scored nine of her 13 points in the third quarter as the Washington State women’s basketball team broke a 25-25 halftime tie with a 25-8 third-quarter run Thursday in a 62-47 victory against Miami (Fla.) in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship tournament at the Baha Mar Convention Center.
“I just think it’s building blocks for this young team, and a team that kind of came on the scene last year,” WSU coach Kamie Ethridge said. “We haven’t really been outside of Pullman much this year, first road game, on a neutral site, in a ballroom, great games going on before and after us with some of the best teams in the country here. I think there’s a presence with our kids and around them. And you can either step into that spotlight and be a little afraid, or have some jitters, and you really have to manage that and kind of realize that you belong here and you belong on that stage. I think we’re still learning that, but excited for the fact that we were able to overcome some bad play and maybe some nervousness and find a way to win.”
Junior guard Johanna Teder led the Cougars (4-0) with 15 points, adding six rebounds, and junior center Bella Murekatete finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Leger-Walker, who played more of a power forward role in this one, had a career high with 15 rebounds and added five assists for Washington State, which shot 24-of-51 from the field (47.1 percent) and held a 39-27 rebounding edge.
Karla Erjavec finished with 11 points for the Hurricanes (4-1), who hit just 16-of-54 (29.6 percent) from the field.
The Cougars raced out to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter as sophomore center Jessica Clarke scored five points in the first seven minutes of the game.
However, Miami punched back in the second, holding Washington State scoreless in the final 4:16 of the period in an 8-0 run that tied the game at intermission.
Freshman guard Tara Wallack and Teder each hit 3-pointers in a 40-second span early to put the Cougars in front 34-27. Then Leger-Walker took charge. She converted a three-point play, made good on a layup and hit a free throw in around a minute-and-a-half, which was followed by layups from Murekatete and Teder that pushed the Washington State lead to 44-31. Three more Cougar baskets late in the period pushed the advantage to 18, and Washington State held a 50-33 lead heading to the fourth.
“After the talk at halftime, we knew that they were going to be really aggressive full court, and we just had to be a lot more disciplined with the ball,” Leger-Walker said. “Turnovers really killed us in the first half, so just being able to take a little more time and really get into our sets and move the ball a bit more. And also being aggressive and taking the ball to the hoop I think really got us going.”
Miami could get no closer.
The Cougars will face their biggest test of the early season at 3 p.m. Pacific on Saturday when they face No. 5 NC State here.
Mbandu 0-3 0-0 0, Pendande 4-8 0-0 8, Erjavec 4-10 2-2 11, Gray 1-8 5-6 8, Marshall 3-12 0-0 7, Djaldi-Tabdi 0-2 0-0 0, Johnson Sidi Baba 2-3 2-4 7, Dwyer 0-3 1-2 1, Roberts 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 16-54 11-16 47
WASHINGTON ST. (4-0)
Murekatete 4-8 4-4 12, C. Leger-Walker 5-12 3-4 13, K. Leger-Walker 4-8 0-0 8, Teder 6-10 1-1 15, Wallack 2-5 0-0 5, Nankervis 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 1-3 0-0 3, Sarver 0-0 1-2 1, Clarke 2-4 1-2 5, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 24-51 10-13 62
Miami 9 16 8 14 — 47
Washington St. 18 7 25 12 — 62
3-Point Goals: Miami 4-20 (Johnson Sidi Baba 1-2, Erjavec 1-3, Gray 1-5, Marshall 1-5, Mbandu 0-1, Djaldi-Tabdi 0-1, Dwyer 0-1, Pendande 0-2), Washington St. 4-13 (Teder 2-6, Wallack 1-1, Jones 1-2, C. Leger-Walker 0-1, K. Leger-Walker 0-3). Rebounds: Miami 27 (Gray 5), Washington St. 39 (C. Leger-Walker 15). Assists: Miami 6 (Marshall 2), Washington St. 11 (C. Leger-Walker 5). Total Fouls: Miami 11, Washington St. 12. A: N/A.