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NCAAW Preview: No. 25 Washington State faces first test as a ranked team

The No. 25 Washington State Cougars are led by four international players: Charlisse Leger-Walker, Krystal Leger-Walker, Ula Motuga and Bella Murekatete. They will face Endyia Rogers and the USC Trojans on Friday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 16 Women’s Washington State at Arizona
Bella Murekatete (with ball) has been a key player for Washington State this season.
Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the No. 25 Washington State Cougars (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) try to temper the residual excitement from their overtime victory over the No. 11 Arizona Wildcats on Sunday, they face the USC Trojans (5-5, 3-5 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

The game will air on Pac-12 Washington and Pac-12 Los Angeles.

Thanks to that upset win, the Cougars are now ranked for the first time in program history and they have won four games in a row since a narrow defeat against the No. 10 Oregon Ducks on Dec. 21.

Washington State is led by freshman New Zealander Charlisse Leger-Walker, who made the game-winning layup at the buzzer against Arizona. C. Leger-Walker averages a Pac-12-leading 18.8 points per game and chips in an average of 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

Highlights and analysis: Washington State defeats Arizona

The Cougars have three other core contributors: C. Leger-Walker’s sister, Krystal Leger-Walker (also of New Zealand), Ula Motuga of Australia and Bella Murekatete of Rwanda. K. Leger-Walker is averaging 10.8 points and 4.5 assists, while Motuga and Murekatete each average 10-plus points and six-plus rebounds.

USC lost four-straight games to start Pac-12 play, but won four of its last five, including three conference wins. The Trojans have two players who average double-figure scoring: Endyia Rogers (16.7 points) and Jordan Sanders (14.7).

The Trojans also have scoring depth thanks to the four scorers behind Rogers and Sanders: Angel Jackson (9.7), Amaya Oliver (8.7), Desiree Caldwell (7.9) and Madison Campbell (6.9).

Rogers leads the way in the distributing department with 4.4 helpers per contest, while No. 3 scorer Angel Jackson and and No. 4 scorer Amaya Oliver haul in six-plus rebounds per game apiece.

Game information

No. 25 Washington State Cougars (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) vs. USC Trojans (5-5, 3-5 Pac-12)

When: Friday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA

How to watch/listen: Pac-12 Washington or Pac-12 Los Angeles/Washington State’s athletics site

Key to the matchup: Discipline. USC is a better shooting team than Washington State with slightly higher field-goal (44.6 to 43.3) and 3-point (38.3 to 32.9) percentages. But when it comes to categories that require discipline (free-throw percentage, rebounding and turnover margin) the Trojans trail the Cougars. If USC can stay disciplined and stay hot from deep, they may have a shot at pulling off the upset.

Reason to watch: Check out if this Cougar team is for real! They just upset No. 11 Arizona in overtime and are ranked for the first time in program history.