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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Locally: WSU sisters to play in FIBA Women’s Asia Cup basketball championships

South Florida guard Sydni Harvey, left, and center Shae Leverett fight for the ball against Washington State guard Krystal Leger-Walker during the women’s NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas, last March.  (Associated Press)
From staff and news services

Washington State’s Leger-Walker sisters, Krystal and Charlisse, are playing for their native New Zealand this week in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup basketball championships in Amman, Jordan. The tournament runs Monday through Sunday.

It’s the second Asia Cup for sophomore Charlisse, who played for the country’s national team in 2019. She was the youngest to ever suit up for the Tall Ferns, being on the national team roster since she was 16. It’s the first FIBA event for Krystal, a redshirt fifth-year senior, who has been playing for the national program at the U18 and U19 levels.

New Zealand is in Group A with Japan, South Korea and India. The top three teams in each group advance to tournament play, with the top three in the tournament qualifying for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup next fall in Australia.

Charlisse was the Pac-12 scoring champion (18.8 ppg) and Freshman of the Year in the 2020-21 season. Krystal was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and led the conference in assists (4.5 apg).

• WSU sophomore center Jessica Clarke and incoming freshman guard Tara Wallack played for their native Canada that finished fifth at the U-19 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Hungary in August.

Junior center Bella Murekatete from Rwanda, who played her high school ball at Genesis Prep in Post Falls, is a fifth Cougar to represent her country this summer. She helped Rwanda make it to the semifinals of the 2021 FIBA Women’s Basketball Afrobasket Zone V qualifier in July.

College scene

Gonzaga men’s basketball junior All-American Drew Timme is one of 38 finalists for the Amateur Athletic Union’s James E. Sullivan Award that goes to the amateur athlete, male or female, judged to be the best in the United States.

The 91st recipient of the award that has been given annually since 1930 will be announced on Oct. 22 in Orlando, Florida, and recognized that night at an Orlando Magic NBA game.

• Former Gonzaga men’s basketball standout Corey Kispert has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ NABC Community Assist Team for his community service work while he was a Bulldog.

Since 2017 when he arrived at GU, Kispert found numerous ways to help in the Spokane area. One of the highlights for the team was spending a day in July at Camp Goodtimes, a weeklong camp for children impacted by cancer hosted by the Spokane YMCA.

He also worked on campus, including with the Bulldog Athlete Ministry, an ecumenical student-athlete program. Last fall, Kispert co-hosted an Advent series on Instagram leading up to Christmas.

• Washington State was nearly perfect in winning a second straight volleyball tournament Sept. 17-18, and much of that was because of the play of junior outside hitter Pia Timmer. For her efforts, Timmer was named Pac-12 offensive player of the week for the first time in her career.

With Timmer earning a second straight tournament MVP award, WSU lost only one set in recording three victories in winning the Thunderdome Classic in Santa Barbara, California.

Timmer had 72 perfect service receptions in three matches as opponents focused on her and 47 total kills, including a career-best 19 against host Santa Barbara in the default championship match. Earlier on the last day, Timmer had 13 kills and 10 digs for her second double-double.

• After recording back-to-back shutouts as No. 20 Gonzaga ran its winning streak to seven matches, the Zags’ junior goalkeeper, Lyza Bosselmann, was named West Coast Conference women’s soccer defensive player of the week.

Bosselman had five saves in two road victories as GU ran its record to 9-0-1, the best start in program history, to collect GU’s first defensive weekly honor this season. Sophomore forward Kate Doyle received the season’s first offensive player award on Aug. 23.

• Scoring two of Idaho’s goals in a 3-2, double-overtime victory over St. Thomas on Sept. 18, including the winner in the 108th minute, earned Vandals senior midfielder Savannah Foster Big Sky Conference soccer player of the week for the period Sept. 13-19. She has three goals on six shots in 601 minutes.

Annika Esvelt, a Seattle Pacific freshman from West Valley HS, was named GNAC women’s cross country runner of the week for her 11-second victory in the Pacific Lutheran Invitational on Sept. 18 in just her second collegiate meet. She covered 6k in 22 minutes, 15.7 seconds.

Tressa Wood is moving right along at Community Colleges of Spokane. Strong performances a week apart earned the freshman from The Dalles, Oregon, the Northwest Athletic Conference’s second women’s cross country runner of the week honor for the fall.

In the first 6K of her life on Sept. 10, facing some of the area’s top Division I runners from Washington State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Idaho, Wood timed 23:32.7, the sixth best time in CCS program history for the distance. A week later, against some of the best NAIA runners in the area, she timed 20:04.5 for 5K and finished eighth.

• Two Whitworth athletes picked up Northwest Conference student-athlete of the week honors for the week of Sept. 13-19.

Junior kicker Nate RaPue received the football special teams award after his season-best 39-yard field goal and four extra-points helped Whitworth to a 31-15 road win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. RaPue, who hasn’t missed a field goal or extra point in his Whitworth career, also averaged 55 yards per kickoff with two touchbacks.

Sophomore forward Dominic Gusman was the men’s soccer offensive player of the week after he scored four goals and added an assist as the Pirates posted two home victories during the week. He had the winner in the 49th minute in a 2-1 victory over Willamette and a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Linfield.

• Two former Timberlake HS athletes from Athol, Idaho, were honored by the Cascade Collegiate Conference as players of the week for the period of Sept. 13-19.

Kenzie Dean, a Lewis-Clark State junior libero/defensive specialist, was the volleyball defender of the week. Providing a steady anchor for the Warriors in the back row, Dean had 51 digs and 13 assists in three matches and added eight services aces. She served 22 times in a row without an error to close out a match against Walla Walla, with five aces in the stretch.

For a second straight week, College of Idaho sophomore Logan Hunt was the men’s cross country runner of the week after posting a dominating 14-second victory in the 65-runner field at the Eastern Oregon Invitational. He covered 7K in 22:02 for his second win of the season.

• For the second time in three weeks, Anna Boyer, Biola’s 5-foot-5 freshman goalkeeper from Mt. Spokane, was named PacWest women’s soccer defender of the week. She allowed just one goal, facing 43 shots in 180 minutes, as the Eagles split two games. She had seven saves in her second shutout and lost 1-0 to reigning West Region champion Western Washington.

Boyer has 26 saves this season with a 92.9 save percentage and her goals-against average is a league-best 0.47 in 382 minutes.

• Washington State’s Academic Services named football’s Max Borghi and Magda Jehlarova from women’s volleyball as its student-athletes of the month for September.

Star senior running back Borghi has excelled both on and off the field. He helps at the Idaho Soup Kitchen and at retirement homes and also spends time reading to elementary school kids. On the field, Borghi’s football recognition includes being the only player in the country named to both the Doak Walker Award and Biletnikoff Award preseason watch lists.

Jehlarova is one of the top Cougars on the court and in the classroom. The junior posted a 3.78 GPA in business management and is regularly named to academic honor rolls, including the WSU President’s Honor Roll. Jehlarova played with her native Czech National Team during the summer and helped WSU win back-to-back tournament titles to start the 2021-22 season.


The Spokane Chiefs made a couple of roster moves last week, acquiring defenseman Ben Bonni from the Medicine Hat Tigers and sending forward Ben Thornton to the Brandon Wheat Kings, dealing for draft picks.

Bonni, a 6-foot, 17-year-old, was a sixth-round pick by the Tigers in 2019. He had a goal and two assists in 18U AAA last year, a season after collecting eight goals and 10 assists as a 15-year-old with the 18U team. For Bonni, the Chiefs are returning to Medicine Hat the 2023 eighth-round draft pick they acquired from the Tigers in the Owen MacNeil trade the previous week.

Thornton, a 17-year-old left-winger, a first-round pick (15th overall) by the Chiefs in the 2019 draft, has scored one goal in 11 games with the Chiefs and picked up three assists in nine preseason games. The Chiefs dealt Thornton for a second-round pick in the 2021 WHL bantam draft that will take place in December.