PULLMAN, Wash. — It’s been known for months, but it became a formality on Monday: WSU’s Charlisse Leger-Walker was named the Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year. She also was a first team All-Pac-12 selection.
"My Instagram, you know how people repost you on your story? I had like over 100, and I couldn’t even go through all of them. I still haven’t gone through most of them. I’m just doing it in chunks," Charlisse said with a laugh about how many people had reached out to her about the honor.
Leger-Walker has had an astounding freshman season, especially since no one had her on their radar when she committed to the Cougs.
She finished the season tied for first in the conference in points per game, averaging 19.4 per contest.
"I’m just super proud of myself. Now, I’ve proven a little bit of what I can do. It’s been awesome to see that I can compete at this level. Obviously, I have so much to improve on. It’s only going to get better going up against these type of athletes all the time," said Leger-Walker.
She also won the Pac-12’s player of the week award seven times. Cal’s Kristine Anigwe still holds the record, winning the award eight times in a season. UW’s Kelsey Plum also won the award seven times her freshman year. Leger-Walker was also named the Tamika Catchings Freshman of the Week after hitting a game winner in overtime of Arizona in January. That award is a national award given out by the US Basketball Writers Association.
Leger-Walker made her mark in WSU’s record books as well. She currently has twelve 20+ point performances on the season. The previous freshman record for 20+ point games on a season was nine. She is currently tied for the sixth-most 20+ point performances in a season in WSU history. The previous school record for Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors was four in a season. She obliterated that as well.
Overall, the New Zealand native has helped lead the Cougs to one of their most successful seasons in team history. The program was ranked for their first time ever in January, notched their first ever win over a top five opponent against UCLA in February, and is currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament. The team also finished the season with a winning record for the first time in seven seasons. The program has only finished the regular season with a winning record six times.
"It would be amazing," Charlisse said of the possibility of making the NCAA Tournament. "For our team to make history again, kind of add to what we’ve already done this year, that would be awesome for our team, and I’d just be so happy. A lot of pride and just a lot of joy."
Charlisse wasn't the only person with local connections awarded by the conference on Monday. Spokane natives Lexie and Lacie Hull, who play for Stanford, also garnered accolades. Lexie was named All-Pac-12 first team, while Lacie picked up the conference's Sixth Woman of the Year award.