Eagles Head to Reese Court for First Regular Season Home Games
After going 1-1 on the road to open the season in Oregon, the Eagles head home for games against Idaho on Thursday and Corban College on Saturday
Date - Opponent - Spokane Radio Station -
Nov. 19 - vs. Idaho at Reese Court - 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 - vs. Corban College at Reese Court - 2:05 p.m.
Eagle Webcasts . . .
All of Eastern Washington's women's basketball games at home, as well as all Big Sky Conference games, will be available to view, free of charge, at www.bigskytv.org.
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team will be back in action in Cheney, Wash., this week after starting the 2009-10 season with one win and one loss on the road. The Eagles won their season opener on Nov. 14 at Portland 72-64 and lost last night at Oregon 86-48.
The Eagles will play their first regular season home game this Thursday (Nov. 19) against the Idaho Vandals, with game time set for 7:05 p.m. Pacific time. Two days later on Saturday (Nov. 21), Eastern will welcome Corban College to Reese Court for a 2:05 p.m. tipoff.
"We were pleased to get a road split -- our goal going into it was to at least a split," said Eastern head coach Wendy Schuller. "We were happy with that. Now turning the page and coming back home, it's exciting for us to play our first regular season games at Reese Court."
Idaho is currently 0-1 having lost its season opener at home against Gonzaga 80-57. Leading the Vandals in scoring were guards Bianca Cheever and Shaena Kuehu, who both put up 15 points against the Bulldogs.
"We have high expectations on ourselves for defending our home court, and, adding the fact that Idaho is one of our local rivals, makes this a big game," said Schuller. "For us it's going to be important to be rested after our long road trip. They are a team we play year-in and year-out, and they are very talented. I know (head coach) Jon (Newlee) and his system very well. I know they will come in and give us a battle."
Corban College, a NAIA school from Salem, Ore., is currently 0-2 after losing their first two games of the season against Lewis-Clark State College and Warner Pacific College in the Staples Classic in Lewiston, Idaho.
"The same goes for the quick turnaround Saturday against Corban College -- we obviously want to defend our home court," said Schuller. "It's good for us to play these games so close together because that is what it will be like in the conference."
The Eagles will then travel to Seattle, Wash., for the Husky Classic hosting by the University of Washington. Eastern will play the hometown Huskies on Friday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. Pacific time and will take on the University of Memphis on Sunday Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. Pacific time.
Eagle Returning Letter Winners . . .
Julie Piper attained the most impressive recognition for the Eagles during her sophomore season in 2008-09, as she earned All-Big Sky honorable mention accolades. She also ranked highly in the league's statistical rankings, placing fifth in free throw shooting (78.3 percent), sixth in rebounds per game (6.8) and 18th in points per game (11.1). Her shooting from the charity stripe also placed her 130th among NCAA Division I players and was the eighth-best in Eastern history. She will enter her junior campaign second in EWU history for career free throw shooting percentage (76.0). She had the best scoring output by an Eagle in the 2008-09 season, scoring 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting in Eastern's battle with Big Sky runner-up Portland State on Jan. 24. Piper also set the team pace in rebounds in 18 different contests.
Kyla Evans continued her attack on the Eastern record books as a sophomore. She made 60 three-point baskets, the fifth-highest single-season total ever recorded by an Eagle, and moved her career sum to 112, good for fifth place. In fact, the sophomore's current career three-point shooting percentage of 38.4 is on pace to set the school record. Evans placed 82nd nationally in three-point shooting percentage (36.1) and 100th in three-point baskets per game (2.07). She was third and eighth in those respective categories in the Big Sky ranks. She made 6-of-10 in a 90-75 win over Montana State on Jan. 29 to help the Eagles to within one of the school record of three-point makes in a game (EWU shot 13-of-27 from beyond the arc in that contest). Evans showed her prowess in the classroom, as well, earning ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 first team accolades. She was also the EWU Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December.
Nicole Scott had an outstanding junior season, as well, and the best display of her skills came on Dec. 13 against Pacific that helped her earn Co-Big Sky Player of the Week honors.. In that contest, Scott nailed all six of her shots, including three treys, in the best shooting performance by an Eagle since Felice Moore also went 6-of-6 at Montana State on March 6, 2004. Additionally, Scott crafted an impressive streak of consecutive free throws made with 29 straight from Nov. 25-Feb. 7, just two shy of being one of the 22 longest such streaks in Division I history. She led the league in free throw shooting in Big Sky games by converting on 86.5 percent of her attempts (32-of-37). She was also an intimidating force inside, placing sixth in the conference in blocks per game (0.97).
Jessica Huntington was one of the steadiest point guards in the country in her junior season, as her assist-turnover ratio of 1.85 (94-to-50) was the tops in the Big Sky and 23rd best among Division I players. She also averaged 3.24 assists per game, placing seventh in that category among league players. She converted 40.7 of her three-point attempts (22-of-54), the sixth-best average in Eastern Washington history.
Tatiana Sparavalo also had some impressive performances during her sophomore season. She scored 15 in a challenging road game versus UNLV and shot at a high level against Portland on Dec. 15, making 5-of-9 attempts from the floor. In addition, Sparavalo had six of Eastern's points during a game-changing 18-3 run in a victory over Weber State on Jan. 10.
Brianne Ryan started 19 games as a freshman and saw her shooting percentages rise once league play commenced, markedly in the three-point category. She shot 27.3 percent from the arc in non-conference games (9-of-33) and 45.2 percent in league contests (14-of-31).
Chene Cooper also played well as a freshman in 2008-09. Her aggressive nature showed in her steals per game average of 1.62, seventh-best in the Big Sky. She also placed 12th in assists per contest with 2.41. In addition, she improved her shot-selection and shot-conversion skills throughout the season, making just 28.3 percent of her attempts through the first 22 games before converting on 41.3 percent over the last seven games.
Breauna Russell played in 16 games as an Eastern freshman in 2008-09, finishing the year with 16 points and 11 steals.
EWU 2008-09 Season Recap . . .
The Eastern women's basketball team made some significant strides in the right direction in 2008-09, going 10-19, 5-11 in Big Sky Conference play, to improve upon its 4-25 record from the year before, 1-15 in league play. The Eagles were among a handful of teams at the NCAA Division I level to earn 2.5 times as many victories - and five times as many league wins - as its counterpart did a year ago.
The two seniors who wrapped up their Eagle careers in the 2008-09 season were co-captains Amy Bratvold and Morgan Rulon. Bratvold started 10 of Eastern's last 13 games and averaged 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest, while Rulon saw action in seven contests and scored five points in her last home game on Feb. 14 versus Idaho State.
As a team, the Eagles also put together some impressive performances in 2008-09.
One of those was a dominating 82-68 road win over Weber State on Jan. 10, which saw Eastern put an end to a 22-game losing streak the Eagles had against the Wildcats in Ogden, Utah. It was also the largest margin of victory for Eastern Washington in a Big Sky road game since a 77-46 win at Portland State on Jan. 15, 2005.
The Eagles shot 56.3 percent from the floor in that game (27-of-48), its best shooting performance since making 57.8 percent in an 81-56 win over the Vikings on Feb. 12, 2005. Eastern also converted 58.3 percent of its three-point attempts in that game (7-of-12), something that was last attained against Idaho on Jan. 10, 2007.
Another outstanding road performance occurred on Nov. 28, when the Eagles defeated Mountain West Conference-member UNLV 70-69 in overtime in the semifinal round of the Lady Rebel Round-Up. That victory was pivotal in that it snapped Eastern's 16-game losing stream away from home. It was also EWU's first-ever win over UNLV and its initial one against a Mountain West foe since defeating Wyoming 53-30 on Jan. 10, 2004.
Eastern Washington claimed another overtime game in its Big Sky opener on Jan. 2, a 70-64 win over Northern Arizona. The exciting game saw the teams tie 13 times and exchange leads on 16 occasions before Eastern ended the contest on a 6-0 run. The overtime game was the team's third of the season, the most played by the Eagles since the 2004-05 squad also had three contests go beyond 40 minutes. The victory allowed Eastern to claim its league lid-lifter for the sixth time in seven years.
In their first home game of the season on Nov. 21 versus San Francisco, the Eagles rallied from a 38-33 halftime deficit to outscore USF 47-32 after the break in an 80-70 victory. That win marked the initial time Eastern Washington had rallied from behind at the interval since a 29-27 deficit became a 66-63 victory over Sacramento State on Feb. 24, 2007. The win also allowed EWU to claim its home opener for the fourth straight year.
Even though the Eagles were defeated on the road by Sacramento State, 74-67, on Feb. 5, the team showed its drive and refusal to back down no matter the score. The team stormed back from a 20-point deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining and went on a 21-2 run to cut the previous 61-41 margin to just two, 64-62, with 3:20 to play.
Eastern's 72-46 handling of Eastern Oregon on Dec. 30 marked the team's largest margin of victory since a 96-57 win over Corban College on Nov. 17, 2006. The victory was also EWU's fifth of the season, allowing the Eagles to surpass their win total from the previous season before the month of December had even concluded.