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UW WBB Holds On to Beat WSU 60-55

A defensive battle ends with UW’s first Pac-12 victory of the season

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 05 Women’s - Montana State at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

They UW Women’s Basketball team beat #21 WSU 60-55 in a defensive battle in Pullman on Sunday afternoon. WSU was the better team the second half, but the Huskies were able to hold on to stretch their win streak to 10 and to open up conference play 1-0.

UW hit the road for the 105th Apple Cup against the Washington State Cougars; WSU has won 5 of the last 6 in Pullman and won the last 3 straight. This was an important match up for two defensively minded teams, with both looking to continue their great starts to the season. UW came into this game 9-0 and WSU came in 10-1. UW came into the game 1st in the nation in opponents’ lowest points scored at 46.1. This was UW’s first real test of the season however, having blown out all teams by a wide margin in every other game. Unfortunately, Elle Ladine, their leading scorer, sat out because she was sick, so true freshman Chloe Briggs got the start in her place.

Both teams were shaky and off their offensive game for the entirety of the first quarter. Both teams showed their incredible defensive skills, but that meant that neither team was able to score until 7:34 left in the first, when Dalayah Daniels scored the first bucket for anyone, bringing the score to 2-0. WSU was especially good in the first quarter at slowing down UW’s offense so much that UW had 2 shot clock violations and a 5 second inbounds play violation. WSU’s Bella Murekatete scored the Cougs first bucket with 5:05 minutes left in the 1st. 30 seconds later, Murekatete got frustrated and fouled the Huskies and Coach Kamie Ethridge pulled her from the game.

Having Murekatete out of the game opened up the center for the Huskies, and they exploited the opportunity, ending the first quarter with an 8-0 run and holding the Cougs scoreless for 3 and a half minutes. Daniels led the Huskies with 5 points and 5 rebounds.

The second quarter started with both teams making adjustments that sped up the tempo. Teagan Brown started the second quarter and was the spark the Huskies needed as she deflected the WSU ball that led to a turnover, and drew Murekatete into another foul, so Murekatete had to head to the bench again. WSU’s Jessica Clarke came and put in some strong work from the block, but WSU just couldn’t keep up with UW. UW ended the second quarter up 37-17 and led the rebounding game 21-2.

The second half was grim for the Huskies, fighting the entire time to maintain their lead. Both teams again appeared unsettled and neither scored until WSU got a bucket and then the Cougs came out swinging, going on a 6-0 run. Huskies tried and tried to score, but were unable to until 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter when Hannah Stines scored. Charlisse Ledger-Walker put the WSU team on her back and dared UW to stop her, and they couldn’t. WSU steadily cut the lead down to 12, and then 10, and then UW scored to end the 3rd quarter with an 11 point lead.

The Huskies started the 4th quarter still in the lead and held the Cougs to 31% shooting, but had dropped their own shooting percentage to 23% in the 3rd quarter, not doing themselves any favors down the stretch. WSU was successful in holding Daniels scoreless the entire second half and without Elle Ladine, Chloe Briggs and Sayvia Sellers tried to step up, but it wasn’t enough to hold WSU back, as they steadily closed the point gap between them and UW.

UW was comfortable taking their time and running the shot clock all the way down, but on one possession, there was a foul called on the ground with 6 seconds left on the shot clock. Briggs, the freshman, showed composure and alerted the rest of the team to the time left. She caught a long pass up past the half court line and then dribbled down to the basket and finger-rolled it in with 1 second left on the shot clock. The timing was so close that the refs reviewed it but let it stand.

Down the stretch, the Huskies left much to be desired. They made a shot, but then didn’t get back on defense. The Cougs forced turnovers and UW couldn’t catch them as they scored. WSU pulled within 4 points with 1:15 left in the game. From there, Schwartz missed an NBA range 3, and WSU’s Ledger-Walker pulled the rebound and got a quick 2 points. At the other side of the court, WSU played stifling defense until one of their freshmen made a mistake and fouled Stines. Stines went to the line and made both shots.

Ledger-Walker took another 3 point shot opportunity but missed and UW’s Briggs got the rebound. Ledger-Walker fouled Briggs (kudos for the very nicely timed theatrics Ms. Briggs) with the ball to foul out of the game. Briggs made the first and missed the second free throw. WSU took a timeout with 8 seconds left. UW had fouls to give and they fouled WSU twice, disrupting the play that WSU called out of time out. The final (and literal) long shot from WSU didn’t hit the rim and UW gathered the rebound, holding on for the first UW win vs. WSU since 2019.

Hannah Stines led all scorers with 20 points for the Huskies. She was also 3-4 from 3 points range and had 9 rebounds.

Key Takeaways

  • Only the 2nd quarter for UW was pretty, but UW found a way to make the win happen anyways.
  • They haven’t had a close game test and it showed for some of the freshmen who made little mistakes down the stretch.
  • I say this every time, but holy moly the free throws. They shot 75% from the line and somehow held on for their first Pac-12 win.
  • Turnovers were also rough, though they forced about the same amount from WSU, ending the game with 14-13, respectively.
  • This team is fun to watch and will do well in the rest of conference play.

Next up: the Huskies play St. Mary’s at St. Mary’s at 1pm on December 16th.