Eastern's road woes continue; head into holiday break at 3-8
After erasing a 17-point deficit in the first half, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team found itself in the driver's seat early in the second, but the Eags could not hold on to their lead, as the Beavers of Oregon State upended Eastern, 64-60 on Tuesday (Dec. 21) at the Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.
The game came down to the wire, as Eastern had a chance to tie with less than a minute on the clock. Trailing 63-60, EWU junior Brianne Ryan made a nifty steal and then drove hard to the basket on the opposite end. Her layup in traffic bounced around the rim, but did not fall, nor was she rewarded with a foul. Senior Julie Piper was able to corral the offensive rebound, but her attempt at a put back was unsuccessful.
Eastern committed a quick foul after the Beavers regained possession. OSU's Alexis Bostick made her first free throw, which put the home team up 64-60 with 19 ticks remaining. She missed the second, but made up for it with a steal at the other end of the floor, which sealed the victory for Oregon State.
"We played extremely hard," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "Anytime a team plays with that much fight and fortitude, you will give yourselves a chance to win."
"I was especially proud of our ability to come back after digging such a big hole in the first 10 minutes of the game," added Schuller. "Our effort to get back in it was commendable. We showed what kind of a team we can be."
Eastern trailed OSU 23-6 at the 13:02 mark of the first period, but the Eagles managed to claw their way back before intermission, hitting 10 of its 14 first-half field goals in final 11 minutes. EWU had pulled within three at 32-29 before heading into the locker room. During that time, eight different Eagles scored, including three baskets by junior Breauna Russell.
Piper, a native of Roseburg, Ore., was Eastern's leading scorer with 15 points on 7-of-13 (.538) shooting from the field. She also had a team-high six rebounds. Senior Kyla Evans had her best offensive output of the season, finishing with 12 points on 71 percent shooting (5-7).
Junior Chene Cooper had eight points and eight assists for EWU, while Ryan finished the night with seven points and three dimes.
The Eagles forced 27 turnovers in the game, but the Beavers made up for it on the glass, earning a 45-28 rebounding advantage.
"We did not have a good rebounding night, again," said Schuller. "We have to improve in this area before the start of Big Sky, because we know there are teams in the league that can get to the glass."
The Beavers also had the edge in three-point shooting, as they knocked down 11-of-16 (.733) attempts from long range, compared to just 4-of-13 (.308) by EWU.
Eastern, who remains winless on the road, will head into the holiday break with a 3-8 overall record. Oregon State improved to 7-4 in the 2010-11 season.
The Eagles will return to action on Dec. 30 when they host Willamette at Reese Court in the final game before Big Sky action begins on Jan. 8.