Washington State too much for Women’s Basketball on Thanksgiving

Midway through the third quarter, Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker dribbled up court, surveying the Maryland defense. In a flash, the senior guard fired a high entry pass to fifth year center Bella Murekatete, who sealed her defender on the left block before catching and rising up for an easy layup.

Murekatete’s bucket provided the Cougars a double-digit lead that the Terps simply couldn’t recover from, as Maryland fell 87-67 to No. 23 Washington State in the Cancun Challenge Tournament. 

Maryland started out strong – thanks to 14 first quarter points (on 6/7 FG) from graduate student Lavender Briggs, breaking her season-high in points just six minutes into the game. As the buzzer sounded to conclude a near-flawless first period open on the offensive end, the Terps held a sizable 11 point lead over the Cougars.

“I loved our first quarter,” emphasized head coach Brenda Frese. “I thought we were really aggressive. Lavender really helped us in that spread on the offensive end.”

But that wouldn’t last long, as key baskets from Beyonce Bea, Murekatete, and Leger-Walker helped spur a 21-8 Washington State run – holding Maryland to just eight second-quarter points on 3/19 shooting from the field (15.8%). However, even despite the rough quarter, the Terps entered the half down only two points, with lots of room for improvement and adjustments.

Maryland regained the lead off early third quarter free throw opportunities from Bri McDaniel and Allie Kubek. But similarly to the end of the first half, the Terps simply couldn’t convert offensively, shooting a dreadful 3/17 from the field (17.6%) and 0/4 from three-point land in the quarter – falling behind 15 points after 30 minutes of play with the Cougars in total control.

“We’re still trying to figure it out…on the offensive end,” said Frese. “The ball isn’t moving…[and] the consistency factor isn’t there yet.”

A fourth quarter layup by Briggs provided the graduate student with a game-high 18 points; however, another corner triple from Cougars’ guard Tara Wallack midway through the period effectively sealed things – providing Washington State with a 22 point lead, its largest of the game.

“The experience and the waves that Washington State has impacted us greatly,” stressed Frese. “Giving up 87 points is way too many.”

With the loss, Maryland now moves to 2-3 on the season, while holding a 1-2 all-time series record against Washington State.

The Terps have no time to rest, as they return to the hardwood tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico to play their second Cancun Challenge game against Green Bay (2-1).

[It’s a] quick turnaround in this tournament for us,” Frese said. “[There’s] areas that we continue to learn from so that we can improve and get better.”