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Washington State women fall just short against No. 8 Oregon, 69-65

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 21, 2020

Washington State center Jessica Clarke (14) battles for a rebound against Oregon on Dec. 21, 2020, in Pullman.  (Courtesy of Robert Hubner/WSU Athletics)
Washington State center Jessica Clarke (14) battles for a rebound against Oregon on Dec. 21, 2020, in Pullman. (Courtesy of Robert Hubner/WSU Athletics)
Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. — Nyara Sabally had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 8 Oregon hung on to beat Washington State 69-65 on Monday to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 26 games, dating to last season.

Erin Boley scored 18 points and made all five of her 3-point attempts for Oregon (7-0, 5-0 Pac-12), which has the longest winning streak in program history.

“It was really good for us to play a really good team like Washington State,” Boley said. “This was the best game we could have had before the (Christmas) break. It will help us get better when we get back.”

Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 20 points for Washington State (3-1, 2-1), which came in following its first win over a ranked opponent since the 2016-17 season. The Cougars beat then-No. 21 Oregon State 61-55 on Saturday. That loss knocked the Beavers out of the poll for the first time in four seasons.

Washington State, picked to finish last in the Pac-12, led for much of this game.

“I’m proud of how hard we competed,” Cougars coach Kamie Ethridge said. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t pull it off.

“I think we are showing ourselves not to be a fluke team. We are solid in a lot of areas,” she said.

Johanna Teder hit a 3-pointer with a few seconds left to lift the Cougars to a 37-32 lead at halftime.

Oregon, which trailed at halftime for the first time this season, was hurt by 11 turnovers in the first half, compared with four for the Cougars. However, the Ducks settled down and had just five turnovers in the second half.

Two baskets by Bella Murekatete put Washington State up 41-32 early in the third quarter, but the Ducks came back. Jaz Shelley hit a 3-pointer to put Oregon up 49-48. But Jessica Clarke made a late basket to lift the Cougars to a 50-49 lead at the end of the third.

Shelley’s 3-pointer with just over a minute left in the game put Oregon ahead 63-62. After a WSU turnover, Boley followed with a 3-pointer to give Oregon the winning points and a 66-62 lead with 33 seconds left.

Krystal Leger-Walker hit a 3-pointer to cut Oregon’s lead to 66-65 with 23 seconds left. Boley hit one of two free throws with 21 seconds remaining to give Oregon a 67-65 lead.

Washington State ran most of the time off the clock and Ula Motuga missed a shot from the corner to end the threat.

Boley, a senior, said she is trying to be a better leader for her young team.

“All of the new people we have have done a really great job of working together,” she said.

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