Brianne Ryan scores 18 points to led the Eagles to their first 5-0 conference start in 25 years
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team made key defensive stops when it mattered to defeat the Northern Colorado Bears 51-49 Saturday (Jan. 16) in a Big Sky Conference game in Greeley, Colo.
With the victory, Eastern remains in first place in the Big Sky and is now 5-0 in league play for the first time in 25 years since the Eagles were 6-0 in the Mountain West Athletic Conference in the 1984-85 season. Eastern has not been 5-0 since the MWAC merged with the Big Sky Conference in the 1988-89 school year.
The Eagles came out of the gate quickly and held a 19-9 lead at the 9:15 mark of the first half. The Bears closed the deficit before halftime and Eastern went into the half with a 24-23 lead.
The Bears gained their first lead of the game with 6:47 left and extended their lead to five points by the 5:33 mark. The Eagles stepped up their defense and the Bears were held without a field goal from that point on.
Brianne Ryan had a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and also pulled down three rebounds. Nicole Scott was the only other Eagle in double figures, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds. The Eagles leading scorer coming into the contest, Julie Piper, was held to just five points but collected 13 rebounds in the game.
Eastern shot 38 percent from the field to top Northern Colorado's 33 percent. The Eagles out-rebounded the Bears 47-26 but committed 23 turnovers.
Next up for the first-place Eagles is back-to-back home games at Reese Court against Idaho State on Friday Jan. 22 and Weber State on Saturday Jan. 23. Both games will begin at 7:05 p.m. Eastern is 6-1 at Reese Court thus far this season.