Eagles to See New Competition at Omni Hotels Classic
Eastern looking to snap three-game losing skid with first road win of 2010-11
EWU vs. Loyola-Chicago
Friday, Nov. 26 - 4 p.m.
Coors Event Center - Boulder, Colo.
EWU vs. Evansville...OR...EWU vs. Colorado
Saturday, Nov. 27 - TBA
Coors Event Center - Boulder, Colo.
Live Stats: Visit the women's basketball schedule on www.goeags.com for a link to live stats for all games at the Omni Hotels Classic from Boulder, Colo.
Webcast: If Eastern were to play Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 27, a live video streaming would be available with a subscription at www.CUBuffs.com
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team will continue its four-game road swing this weekend when it travels to Boulder, Colo., for the 24th Annual Omni Hotels Classic Nov. 26-27. Two of the three schools at the Thanksgiving weekend tournament are teams that Eastern has never played in program history, while the third has not appeared on Eastern's schedule in more than two decades.
The Eagles will first play the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago on Friday (Nov. 26), which will be the first meeting in history for the two programs. Eastern will then face either Evansville or host school, Colorado. EWU has also never played the Purple Aces, and have met the Buffaloes only twice before in 1980 and 1986. CU won both contests by scores of 97-53 and 62-48, respectively.
The winners of the first-round games will play each other in the championship game on Saturday (Nov. 27) at 7:30 p.m., while the losers of the initial matchups would meet in the consolation game at 5 p.m. at the Coors Event Center.
Eastern is coming off a challenging week that saw the team drop back-to-back road matches against Idaho and Boise State. The Eagles suffered from a scoring drought in both contests, as they converted only 41 baskets on 133 attempts in the two games combined. The team will look to turn that luck around in its matchups at the Omni Hotels Classic.
Loyola-Chicago will enter the game with a 2-1 record on the season, which includes a 67-62 overtime victory against Western Michigan and an 84-58 rout of St. Xavier. The Ramblers have three players with double-digit scoring averages within the first three games of the season. Among those players is 6-foot-1 junior Ellen Ayoub, who averages 17.7 points per game on 55 percent shooting from the field. She also leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 per game and is tied for the most assists on the squad with 10. The Ramblers have out-rebounded their opponents to date 129-105, and enjoyed a 48-39 advantage in assists and 18-11 edge in blocks.
The Evansville Purple Aces also have a 2-1 record thus far in the 2010-11 season. They returned three starters from the 2009-10 squad that won only four games total throughout the year. Chelsea Falkenstein, a 6-0 forward, is their leading scorer at 11.7 points per game, while 6-2 center Samantha Heck dominates the glass, averaging 7.3 caroms per game.
Colorado is nearly undefeated this year with three wins and one very narrow loss to in-state rival Denver. The Buffs fell by just one point (70-69) to the Pioneers on Nov. 16. CU is led by senior forward Brittany Spears and sophomore guard Chucky Jeffery, who have combined for an average of 36 points thus far in the season. Spears has scored 20+ points in three of the first four games and averages 49 percent from the field, including 11 made three pointers. She also grabs 8.3 boards per game, which is second on the team. Jeffery leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 per game.
Eagle Fast Breaks
- Eastern has three players who are averaging 10 or more points per game. Tatjana Sparavalo leads the way with 14.3, while Brianne Ryan and Julie Piper follow at 11.3 and 10.0, respectively.
- Those same three Eagles, Sparavalo, Ryan and Piper, are also averaging at least five rebounds a game. Sophomore Carrie Ojeda joins that group with her 5.5 caroms per contest. She also leads the team in blocks with four.
- Sparavalo has registered two double-doubles already this season -- the first two of her career. Ryan has also accomplished the feat with her 10 points and 11 rebounds against Boise State. Both players are among the top 15 in the Big Sky in scoring and rebounding.
- The Eagles have impressed with their ability to take care of the ball in their early season outings, committing only 59 turnovers, compared to 72 by their opponents.
- Junior Chene Cooper has dished out 20 assists thus far in the season, leads all juniors in the Big Sky in that statistical category. Her 5.0 assists per game ranks second overall in the league, while her assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.2 (20-9) also ranks second.
- As a team, Eastern is second in the Big Sky in assists (14.5 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).
Eagle News & Notes
Sparavalo's Senior Season Off to Blazing Start
Senior Tatjana Sparavalo has recorded double-doubles in two of Eastern's first four games of the 2010-11 season, and she led the team in scoring in three of those four contests. She earned her first career double-double against Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 12), tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds, both of which were team highs. In EWU's narrow loss to Boise State (Nov. 20), she had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Her 21 tallies against the Broncos led all players in the game, and was only three points away from her career high of 24. She is shooting 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc, and is one of only two players in the Big Sky to have registered more than one double-double this season.
Evans Dominates from Downtown
In Eastern's game against Boise State on Nov. 20 of this year, Kyla Evans hit three three pointers, moving her into third in the Eastern record book for career three pointers made. She now has 175 in her tenure, and is just 20 away from nabbing the record outright. She is also the only active player in the Big Sky who has 150+ career three-pointers and the only current Eagle who appears in the Big Sky record book, as she is 15th in career three pointers (175) and 20th in career three-point field goal percentage (.380).
Piper Selected as Candidate for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
EWU senior forward Julie Piper was selected as one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The 2011 women's candidate class includes five players who were CoSIDA Academic All-Americans last year, 22 student-athletes with grade point averages of 3.0 or better, four players who participated in the 2010 Women's Final Four and 15 players on the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award. The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Coop Climbing the Charts
Just a junior, Chene Cooper is already closing in on two top 10 lists in the EWU career record book. With 179 assists in her career, she is only 61 away from the top 10 in that category, which is certainly a feasible goal for this year, considering she had 89 last season as the back-up point guard. She is even closer to making her mark in the steals category, as she is only seven shy of breaking into that top 10 list. Cooper has 112 total steals thus far in her career. Fifty-seven of those steals came last season, which ranks seventh in Eastern's single-season record book. In 2010-11 Big Sky play, Cooper is currently second in assists (5.0 per game), fifth in steals (2.0 per game) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).
Julie Piper has not missed a single game since the first time she stepped on the court as a freshman in 2007. She played in all 29 games during her rookie season, all 29 as a sophomore in 2008-09 and all 31 last year. She has started 82 of those 89 games. Besides her consistent court presence, Piper has scored at least two points in every game since Feb. 14, 2009 (0 vs. ISU), and has had at least three rebounds in every game since Nov. 28. 2008 (2 vs. UNLV).
Streaks to Remember
In 2009, Julie Piper had a streak of eight-straight double-digit scoring games (Jan. 30 – Feb. 26), which was tied for the fifth-best run in the Big Sky. As a team, the Eagles had a seven-game winning streak from Dec. 31 – Jan. 23, which was the longest streak for the Eagles since the 2002-03 season, when the team won seven in a row from Dec. 4 – Jan. 2...Notable "Non-Streak" ...Last season, not a single player led in scoring for more than two games in a row. Eastern should enjoy a balanced offense this season as well, as all but one of those many leaders is retuning for the 2010-11 campaign.
Bringing Back the Blog
Senior Kyla Evans, is "bringing back the blog." As a freshman in 2007, Evans provided a blog for readers of www.goeags.com. Now, as a senior captain on the EWU squad, Evans will return to her role as the public voice of Eastern Washington women's basketball. Every two weeks, she will provide commentary on the happenings of the squad, as they strive for another memorable season! Check back bi-monthly to the women's basketball page on www.goeags.com to follow Kyla and her creative contributions.