This week, to conclude this season’s Boeing Apple Cup series, the Dawgs will take a PAC-12 road trip to face Washington State on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at 12 Noon.
Recently, a trip by the Washington Huskies women’s basketball program to Pullman did not have any significant connotations beyond rivalry bragging rights.
However, circumstances have changed and the Huskies are now looking at a “must win,” if they want to increase their odds of avoiding the PAC-12 cellar this season.
Currently, the Huskies hold a record of one win and two losses in PAC-12 play; and they are tied with Oregon State, USC and California.
Washington State is a surprising 0-3 in PAC-12 play (tied with Arizona State), primarily due to the absence of guard Charlisse Leger-Walker in the lineup against Colorado and Utah this past weekend.
Walker is reportedly back home in New Zealand due to family concerns.
In Leger-Walker’s absence the Cougars have been led by center #55 Bella Murekatete — WSU’s leading scorer with 15 points in their 65-54 loss to Colorado and again with 20 points in WSU’s 71-66 loss to Utah.
Although, the Dawgs are currently 99th in the NET Rankings and Washington State is ranked 49th overall.
If Charlisse Leger-Walker does not return in time to play Washington, then the Huskies will face a rare opportunity as favorites against WSU in Pullman.
Her absence would be particularly impactful because Walker scored 40 points against the Dawgs in their 82-66 rout of the Cougars at home.
If the Huskies defeat the Cougars they will gain some needed separation from WSU and the other (current) PAC-12 also-rans; and increase their chance of an improved PAC-12 record this year — UW finished 2-12 in conference play last season.
Furthermore, the Huskies have not swept the women’s basketball Apple Cup series since the 2016-17 season — so maybe it is still about bragging rights after all.