After winning the first two home games of the season, the Eagles head to Seattle for the Husky Classic with games Friday against Washington and Sunday against Memphis
Date - Opponent - Time/Pacific
Nov. 27 - vs. at Washington - 2 p.m.
Nov. 29 - vs. Memphis (Seattle, Wash.) - 12 p.m.
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team has started the 2009-10 season with a 3-1 record, including two impressive wins at home this past week against Idaho and Corban College. The squad will face a tough challenge this Thanksgiving weekend, though, as they face the Washington Huskies and the Memphis Tigers in Seattle, Wash., for the annual Husky Classic.
The Eagles will tangle with the Huskies first on Friday (Nov. 27) with tipoff set for 2 p.m. Pacific time. The Huskies are 1-2 on the season and are coming off an 81-52 defeat at Gonzaga.
Washington has forced an average of 25.3 turnovers per game, with guard Sami Whitcomb averaging 17.3 points and nearly two steals per game. Regina Rogers, a 6-foot-3 UCLA transfer, chips in 9.3 points in an average of 16.3 minutes per outing.
"We have to continue to do what we have done and get better on a few things we haven't done yet," said Eastern head coach Wendy Schuller. "It's going to be important for us to do a good job on the defensive end -- Washington has some great guards that can really score and they have some great size. They are going to switch defenses on us and we are going to have to take care of the ball -- they are forcing a lot of turnovers right now."
The Eagles will then take on the Tigers on Sunday (Nov. 29) afternoon at noon Pacific time. Memphis has started the season 2-2 with victories over Missouri and Tennessee-Martin. They are led by guard Brittany Carter, who is averaging 16.3 points through the first four games, along with an average of seven rebounds a game.
"Memphis has an extremely athletic team," said Schuller. "They have played a lot of tough opponents, and have beaten some of them."
Eastern has used balanced scoring early on, with four players averaging nine or more points a game. Junior forward Julie Piper leads all Eagles in points and rebounds, averaging 11.3 points with 7.8 rebounds a game. One of those four players has been coming off the bench -- guard Tatjana Sparavalo -- who is averaging 9.5 points a game.
"I have been pleased from the production off the bench," said Schuller. "Not a lot of teams can go into their bench and not miss a beat. We have the ability to have a great group on the floor at all times. We have an unselfish group of girls that just want to find a way to get it done."
The Eagles will then return home to meet up with local rival Gonzaga in Spokane on Tuesday Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. before playing three-straight home games at Reese Court.
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.
Tatjana 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.