Eagles miss several game-tying opportunities in final minutes
It was just one of those nights. The Eastern Washington University women's basketball fought hard for every possession in Saturday's game against Boise State, but the shots would just not fall for the team in Red and White. Eastern missed nine game-tying opportunities in the final three minutes of the contest, resulting in a narrow 64-60 loss to the Broncos at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.
"We did everything we could to put ourselves in a position to win," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "But the ball would not drop in the basket."
Down by just two (62-60) with 2:56 remaining, the Eagles gained possession of the ball after two missed free throws and an errant three-point attempt by the Broncos. Over the next 45 seconds, the Eagles fired seven shots from the field, but not a single one found the bottom of the net. Eastern tallied six of its 25 offensive rebounds during that span.
"We weren't missing because of bad shot selection," said Schuller. "We were taking great shots and working extremely hard. It just wouldn't go in. There were so many times in final seconds when someone would put up a shot and the bench would erupt because it looked right on target, but for some reason, it wouldn't fall."
Boise State extended its lead to three after a made free throw with 45 seconds remaining on the clock. Eastern tried again for the tie with two good looks from long range, but the lid on the basket remained closed for the Eagles. Boise State hit one more free throw before the end of the game to seal the 64-60 victory.
"We are disappointed in the loss, but not in our effort," said Schuller. "We were taking care of the ball, running plays in the way we had planned and our overall intensity and work rate was right where it needed to be. But sometimes, it just doesn't go your way."
Eastern took 30 more shot attempts than the Broncos and out-rebounded the home team 48-41, but the Eags finished the night shooting a dreadful 26.7 percent from the field (20-of-75).
Senior Tatjana Sparavalo led the Eagles with her second double-double of the season. She had 21 points and 10 rebounds, seven of which were off the offensive glass.
Sophomore Brianne Ryan also registered a double-double, as she finished with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Junior Chene Cooper added nine points, five rebounds and five assists, while senior Julie Piper contributed six rebounds and five points.
"We can walk away from this game with our heads held high," added Schuller. "Despite the loss, we think we took a step closer to being the team we want to be when Big Sky play comes around."