Washington State scored a thrilling 71-69 home win in overtime on Sunday against then-No. 7 Arizona and made history Monday by being named to the Associated Press top-25 poll for the first time in program history, earning NCAA.com Team of the Week honors.
The Cougars checked in at No. 25 in the AP poll less than 24 hours after the 71-69 home win in overtime against Arizona. Freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker's left-handed layup in traffic as time expired gave Washington State their second win over an AP top-25 team this season, while it marked the program's first win over a top-10 opponent in five seasons. The Cougars had earlier in season defeated No. 21 Oregon State on Dec. 19. Washington State, which now stands 7-1 overall and 5-1 in Pac-12 Conference play, suffered its only loss of the season by a 69-65 count to No. 8 Oregon on Dec. 21.
RANKINGS: AP poll | Power 10 | NET Rankings
After trailing by as many as 16 points against Arizona, Washington State mounted a comeback that was capped by Leger-Walker’s basket just before the overtime buzzer. The freshman showed poised down the stretch, scoring 10 of her team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Leger-Walker’s wrap-around layup at the end of regulation sent the game into the extra stanza.
Redshirt senior Krystal Leger-Walker and sophomore Bella Murekatete each scored 14 points for Washington State. The elder Leger-Walker barely missed out on a double-double, as she dished out a Washington State career-high nine assists against the Wildcats. Meanwhile, Murekatete pulled down a team-best seven rebounds in the win.
Washington State enters this week's slate of Pac-12 games in second place in the league standings. The 5-1 mark in the Pac-12 also ties for program's best start in league play, matching the 5-1 start set by the 2013-14 team. Meanwhile, the 7-1 overall record gives Washington State its second-best start to a season through eight games, only trailing the 2015-16 squad that began the year a perfect 8-0.
The Cougars return to action this Friday, Jan. 15 when they open a four-game road trip with a matchup at Southern California, followed by a Jan. 17 game at UCLA.