2023-2024 Washington State University Women's Basketball (PDF) - Washington State University Athletics (wsucougars.com)

I finished the Cal softball game at 7pm and grabbed some dinner. I researched this yesterday and will write this analysis mostly from memory.

Cal needs to win this game more than Washington State. The Cougars know that they're not going to make the
post season without their best player. Charlisse Leger-Walker is out for the season. It's a sad way to end a great career. She was a great all-around player. She was a great defender who shut down Jayda Curry last year in the Palouse to single digits. Leger-Walker scored 25 points in a 70-60 victory over Cal. Review the stats above and you'll see that she led the team in assists by a wide margin. She was second in rebounds and second in steals.

In the two games since she has been MIA, the Cougars scored approximately sixty points instead of 70 or more.
They are a disciplined team which plays solid defense and blocks shots. Cal also has to stop fouling so much because this team is excellent at free throw shooting. Below is the box score of the Bear's upset win in Berkeley by one point. Wazzu made 20-22 free throws that night.

Women's Basketball vs California on 1/7/2024 - Box Score - Washington State University Athletics

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 20 points to lead the Cougar offense. Without her, six other players have been taking more field goal attempts to try to make up for her "lost" scoring. Most of the stats that game were close. One factor is in Cal's favor: WSU does not press or pressure a lot. The Bears had only 14 turnovers as compared to approximately 20 that the team has been averaging lately. The Coug's make 6.2 threes per game vs the Bear's 8.2. Cal has also been hitting double-digit threes over the last four games.

Washington State will likely have to make more threes than usual to win the game at home. They'll also hope to generate a ton of foul shots against Cal's foul prone defense. A key matchup will be Bella Murakatete (6-3) vs Michelle Onyiah (6-3). If you glance at the box score at Cal, both of their stats were virtually the same. Onyiah did not foul out early. Michelle outscored Bella 14-12 and both grabbed 8 rebounds. The Bears don't really have another post that is athletic like Murakatete so you see my point. She is WSU's leading scorer for the season and will have to step in up a notch to make up for CLW's absence.

2023-24 Women's Basketball Roster - Washington State University Athletics (wsucougars.com)

The two leading three-point shooters for the Cougs are two freshmen recruits named Villa. One is a 6-1 guard named Jenna from their home state while the other, Eleonora, is an Italian import. Kamie Ethridge, their head coach, does a tremendous job of landing foreign recruits annually. Eleonora and Jenna have connected on 36 & 31 treys, respectively. PG Astera Tuhina (Kosovo) and Tara Wallack have contributed nicely w/ 21 & 20 made threes, respectively. Roles will be reversed here for once. I've been pointing to Cal's need for threes to pull upsets, etc. Now, Wazzu needs to pull off the same game plan to score enough to win.

My prediction is that Cal will squeak by Washington State in the Palouse, 65-60. GO BEARS!