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Sports >  NCAA

Fresh off upset of No. 7 Arizona, Washington State women ranked for first time in program history

UPDATED: Sat., March 13, 2021

Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge has led the Cougars to a 7-1 start and the school’s first ranking ever in  (Collin Andrew)
Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge has led the Cougars to a 7-1 start and the school’s first ranking ever in (Collin Andrew)

How much history can the Washington State women’s basketball team make this season?

Just a little more, Coach Kamie Ethridge said Monday.

Less than 24 hours after the Cougars shocked seventh-ranked Arizona on Sunday, they were ranked 25th in this week’s Associated Press poll.

The ranking is the first in program history. WSU is the last school from a Power-5 conference to make the Top 25 in women’s basketball.

Washington State picked up 73 points in the poll released Monday . The program has received votes on 10 separate occasions since the 2015-16 season, including 3 votes last week.

“I’m extremely happy for this team. I was not aware that WSU had never in its history been ranked,” Ethridge said Monday .

“We realize however, that it’s fleeting if we don’t stay focused on today and the next great challenge before us,” Ethridge said.

That would be this weekend for games at USC and No. 8 UCLA. After that, the schedule gets even more challenging, with road games in Oregon and a two-game home stand at the end of the month against top-rated Stanford.

However, those challenges don’t seem nearly as daunting as they did only a few weeks ago. Picked to finish last in the Pac-12 and losing several key players from last year, the Cougars have defied expectations.

At 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the Pac-12, the Cougars are also ranked 34th in the all-important NET rankings. Currently that would put them on track for the biggest moment of all: WSU’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s truly a great accomplishment for this program,” Ethridge said. “This summer I pointed out that there are no banners hanging in our gym and I shared that we could be a team that accomplishes a lot of firsts.”

WSU’s ranking was boosted by the Cougars’ dramatic overtime home win Sunday over Arizona.

With the score tied at 69-all with 15 seconds left in OT, Ethridge put the ball in the hands of freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker, who drove through traffic for a left-handed layup.

The ball rolled around the rim, then dropped through the net as time expired to give WSU the 71-69 win at Beasley Coliseum.

It was the Cougars’ first win over a top-10 team since Jan. 6, 2017, when WSU knocked off No. 9 UCLA in Pullman.

Arizona is the highest-ranked team ever to lose to Washington State.

It is also the program’s sixth all-time win over a team ranked inside the top-10 of either the Associated Press Poll or the WBCA Coaches Poll. The Cougars beat then-No. 21 Oregon State on Dec. 19.

The win helped Leger-Walker to her third straight Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award and her fourth of the season.

{p class=”x_MsoNormal”}The guard from Waikato, New Zealand, becomes just the third player in Pac-12 history to earn freshman of the week in three consecutive weeks, joining Washington’s Kelsey Plum, who first accomplished the feat back in 2013-14, and California’s Kristine Anigwe, who did it on two separate occasions during the 2015-16 season.

{p class=”x_MsoNormal”}Leger-Walker scored a team-best 17 points against Arizona.

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