Eagles Set to Play Northern Arizona on the Road and Sac State at Home in Week Ahead

Eastern visits the Lumberjacks in Flagstaff on Thursday, before returning to Reese to wrap up regular-season series with Hornets on Saturday

Click Here for a Complete Set of Game Notes in PDF Format

Upcoming Games

EWU vs. Northern Arizona
Thursday, Jan. 20- 5:35 p.m. (PST)
J. Lawrence Walkup Stadium - Flagstaff, Ariz.

EWU vs. Sacramento State
Saturday, Jan. 22- 7:05 p.m. (PST)
Reese Court - Cheney, Wash.

Coverage

Webcasts: http://www.bigskytv.org
(All home games and all Big Sky Conference games)

Live Stats:
NAU game - http://livestats.prestosports.com/nauathletics/
Sac State game - http://web.ewu.edu/groups/athletics/wbasketball/wblivestats/xlive.htm


The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team went 1-1 in its first weekend on the road of the 2011 Big Sky season. Eastern's win at Sac State on Jan. 13 was especially important, as it was the team's first road victory of the year. The Eagles hope to add another tally to that column when they play Northern Arizona in Flagstaff on Thursday (Jan. 20). Tipoff from the Walkup Skydome Stadium is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Pacific time. Following the trip to the Grand Canyon State, Eastern will return to Cheney for one of its few home games in the month of January. The Eagles take on Sacramento State on Saturday (Jan. 22) at 7:05 p.m. on Reese Court for second time in two weeks.

The Eagles topped Sac State last Thursday (Jan. 13) after turning in their best offensive effort of the season. The team scored 88 points on 49 percent shooting from the field. The Eags also out-rebounded the Hornets 52-42, while holding them to a .361 field goal percentage. Although Eastern's offensive efficiency was still decent in the following game at Northern Colorado (.439), the team committed a season-high 25 turnovers, which the Bears turned into 24 points.

Eastern will look to correct those errors in its next road game at Northern Arizona.

NAU is currently 7-10 overall and 2-2 in Big Sky action. The Lumberjacks also split its pair of conference games last week, as they beat Montana 64-60 and fell to Montana State, 70-82. In its four league games this season, NAU has shot 38 percent from the field and only 28 percent from beyond the arc.

The team is led by sophomore guard Amy Patton, who averages 17.2 points per game. She is the only Lumberjack who is averaging double figures this season, and is also the team's top rebounder with 5.8 caroms per contest. Patton was an All-Big Sky second-team selection as a freshman in 2010.

The Eagles and Lumberjacks have played each another exactly 50 times throughout history. The Eagles hold a slight 27-23 advantage in the all-time series, which includes victories in both meetings of the 2009-10 season. The Eagles beat NAU in Flagstaff on Jan. 14, 2010, which was the team's first victory at the Walkup Skydome Stadium since 2005. EWU is 9-16 overall when playing on NAU's home floor.

Having just played Sac State last week, Eastern is not expecting many surprises in its second Big Sky contest on the week. The Hornets are winless thus far in the league season, having lost to Montana, Montana State, Idaho State, and of course, Eastern. The Hornets, who are 3-14 overall, average 71.2 points per game, which is the most in the Big Sky, but they allow 89.3 by their opponents, which is the worst scoring defense number in the conference. The same dichotomy exists in rebounding, as Sac State leads the league in rebounding offense with 43.8 per game, but is last in rebounding defense, allowing 56.1.

Sophomore forward Kylie Kuhns is still the driving force for Sac State, averaging 15.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. After its win last week, EWU improved to 21-11 all-time against the Hornets. Eastern is 10-5 when playing Sac State in Cheney, but the Hornets have won two of the last three meetings at Reese Court.

Eagle Fast Breaks

  • Piper and Sparavalo, as well as sophomore Carrie Ojeda, are also averaging at least five rebounds per game, with Piper leading the way at 6.7. All three players rank among the top 20 in rebounding in the Big Sky Conference.
  • Junior Chene Cooper has dished out a team-leading 84 assists thus far in the 2010-11 campaign. Her average of 5.6 dimes per game ranks second in the Big Sky and 6 in the nation, and is the best mark for all juniors in the BSC. Her assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.9 (84-44) is leading the Big Sky, while also ranking in the top 40 in Division I women's basketball. Cooper is also the only player in the Big Sky to reach 20+ points, 10+ rebounds and 10+ assists at least once this season.
  • Three different Eagles have registered multiple double-doubles this year, including Tatjana Sparavalo (4), Brianne Ryan (3) and Julie Piper (2). Sparavalo is one of only three players in the league to have at least four double-doubles in 2010-11.
  • In the last eight games, in which the Eagles have gone 5-3, the team has shot 43 percent from the field (222-of-501). Prior to that, the Eagles were making only 35 percent of their shots (167-473). EWU has recorded a higher field goal percentage than its opponent in seven of the last eight games.
  • As a team, the Eagles are first in the Big Sky in offensive rebounding at 16.1 per game. Eastern is eighth, however, in defensive rebounds with a 22.9 average. The team has four players who rank in the top 15 in offensive boards. Although this statistic is linked to a high number of missed shots (389-974), the team is at least giving itself ample opportunity for second-chance points.

Eagle News & Notes

Piper Rules Big Sky's Senior Class
Julie Piper has proved to be the most efficient senior shooter in the Big Sky Conference at this point in the season. She owns the top mark for all seniors in the league in field goal percentage (.507) and free throw percentage (.882). Her field goal percentage of .507 also ranks among the top 60 players in Division I women's basketball.   

Sparavalo Sizzles Off the Bench
Eastern's "sixth man," Tatjana Sparavalo, has scored in double figures in 10 of Eastern's 15 games, including seven of the last nine. She is currently Eastern's second-leading scorer with 12.3 points per game, which she has earned in 302 minutes off the bench. She has recorded four double-doubles this season, an accomplishment only two other players in the Big Sky have reached. She tied her career high in scoring in Eastern's most recent outing versus Northern Colorado. She had 24 points with four three pointers.

Dependable Brianne
Junior Brianne Ryan has scored in double digits in all but three of Eastern's contests this season. She started the year with a seven-game streak of 10 or more points. She is one of only three players in the Big Sky to have a double-digit scoring streak of seven or more games. Recently, Ryan had three-consecutive games with 20+ points, including a career-high 24 against Willametee on Dec. 30. She led EWU to victories in its first two league games of the year, scoring 20 points against Portland State on Jan. 8, and 21 against Sac State on Jan. 13.

Coop Climbing the Charts
Just a junior, Chene Cooper has already cracked the top 10 list in two categories of the EWU career record book. Cooper has 128 total steals thus far in her career, which ranks seventh in the EWU record book. Fifty-seven of those steals came last season, which is the seventh-best single-season performance in Eastern history. She has 284 total assists in her career, which ranks 10th in the record book.

Evans Dominates from Downtown
With 22 treys already this season, senior Kyla Evans has moved up to second in the Eastern record book for career three pointers made. She has 192 total in her tenure, which is just three shy of the current record of 195. She is also one of only three active players 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 eighth in career three pointers (192) and tied for 20th in career three-point field goal percentage (.379).

Balanced Attack
The 2010-11 Eastern Washington women's basketball team boasts one of the most versatile squads in the league. In Eastern's 13 games thus far in the season, five different players have led the team in scoring. The same depth is evident on the defensive end, as six different Eagles have led in rebounding this year. EWU has four players with double-digit scoring averages, and four players who average five or more rebounds per game. Each class (Fr., So., Jr., Sr.) is represented in these numbers as well.

Cooper Hits Career Highs in Back-to-Back Games
Junior Chene Cooper had a career night in Eastern's 75-67 win over UC Irvine on Dec. 15 and in EWU's 73-44 rout of Saint Martin's on Dec. 11. The five-foot point guard scored 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting against the Aneaters, and pulled down a team-leading 10 rebounds in the contest. Her previous career highs in those categories were 23 points and eight rebounds. This performance came one game after she set another career high in assists. Against Saint Martin's, she had an astounding 12 dimes, which is the best single-game assist performance for any player in the Big Sky this season. Her previous career high in that category was seven.

Piper's Presence
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, as well as all 15 of the current season. She has started 97 of those 104 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 two rebounds in every game since Nov. 28. 2008 (2 vs. UNLV). This season, Piper has had eight double-digit scoring outings, and two of 20 or more points.

Notable Newcomers
Freshman Aubrey Ashenfelter has seen minutes in every game of the 2010-11 season. As Eastern's backup point guard, she averages 13.9 minutes per game. A product of Southridge High School in Portland, Ore., Ashenfelter has scored 41 points for Eastern and dished out 23 assists. Freshman Laura Hughes, who came to Eastern from Richland, Wash., has also been an important player off the bench this season. Hughes provides depth in the post, averaging 1.8 rebounds per game and 3.2 points. She played a season-high 22 minutes against national-powerhouse Gonzaga on Dec. 3.

Piper Named to Omni Hotels Classic All-Tournament Team
Julie Piper was selected as one of five standout players for the 24th Annual Omni Hotels Classic All-Tournament Team. Piper averaged 15.0 points per game in the two games played in Boulder, Colo., on Nov. 26 and 27. She shot an impressive 52 percent from the field and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. With those eight made free throws over the weekend, she moved into the top 10 in the Eastern record book for career free throws made. She now has 207 in her tenure. Piper registered her first double-double of the season against the Ramblers with 20 points and 13 rebounds. She was 7-of-15 from the field, and knocked down all six of her attempts from the charity stripe. She also scored in double digits against the Purple Aces, tallying 10 points of 4-of-6 shooting. Although her time on the floor was limited due to foul trouble, she added six rebounds and two steals in just 15 minutes.

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.

Family Ties
Current Eagle Brianne Ryan is the daughter of one of the all-time greats in the Eastern Washington Women's Basketball program, Neil Ryan (formerly Neil Ann Massie). Neil Ryan played basketball for EWU from 1979-82, and is the third-leading rebounder in school history with 1,008 career rebounds. Her career rebounding average of 8.47 ranks fourth in the EWU record book, while her 346 rebounds in the 1979 season is the fourth-best single season performance in program history. She is also one of the all-time leading scorers, as her 1,190 career points ranks seventh overall in the EWU record book. She ranks sixth in career field goals made (509) and tenth in field goals attempted (1,001). EWU's relationship with the Ryan family does not stop there. Head coach Wendy Schuller recently signed Brianne's younger sister and Neil's youngest daughter, Kayleigh, to a national letter of intent to play basketball at Eastern starting in the 2011-12 school year.

Eagles Sign Four for 2011-12 Season
Four high school seniors from the state of Washington have signed national letters of intent to play basketball at Eastern Washington University. The members of the 2011 recruiting class include 5-foot-1 point guard Kylie Huerta from Kentwood High School, 5-11 guard Kayleigh Ryan from Lynden Christian High School, 6-0 forward Melissa Williams from Camas High School in Vancouver and 5-10 shooting guard Hayley Hodgins from Chiawana High School in Pasco. Huerta was ranked among the top 110 point guards in the nation according to ESPN Hoopgurlz.com, and earned South Puget Sound League North Division Co-MVP honors in 2010 after leading the league in points per game (18.9) and steals (57). Ryan, sister of current Eagle, Brianne Ryan, is a dual-sport athlete, earning letters in basketball and volleyball at Lynden Christian. As a junior on the basketball team, she averaged nine points, eight rebounds and 4.7 assists per game for the Lyncs. Williams was selected as the 2010 Greater St. Helen's League Player of the Year and the Columbian's All-Region Player of the Year. She led her team to the Class 3A District Championship in 2010, averaging 16 points per game throughout the year. Hodgins was a member of the Columbia Basin Big Nine Cascaded Division first-team in 2010 and was twice named the Tri-City Herald Athlete of the Week. Hodgins was the league's leading scorer during her junior year, averaging 18.4 points per game. She shot 46 percent from three-point range, which was also the best in the league.

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.  Once a month, she will provide commentary on the happenings of the squad, as they strive for another memorable season! Check back to the women's basketball page on www.goeags.com to follow Kyla and her creative contributions.

Accomplishments Under Schuller

  • The 2009-10 squad won the school's first-ever Big Sky Conference regular-season title and hosted the league tournament for the first time in school history.
  • The 2009-10 Eagles advanced to the Women's National Invitation Touament, which marked the first national postseason appearance for EWU since 1987.
  • Eastern earned an overall record of 19-12 and conference record of 12-4 in 2009-10, which were the best recorded by an EWU team since the 1984-35 season.
  • Julie Piper was named 2010 Big Sky Most Valuable Player, becoming the first player in program history to earn such an honor.
  • Schuller was selected as the 2010 Big Sky Coach of the Year. She has collected 113 wins at EWU, which is the second-most victories in school history.
  • The Eagles have advanced to the Big Sky Conference semifinals in six of Schuller's nine years at the helm of the program (2002-06, 2010).
  • For the past nine-consecutive seasons, Eastern has earned a spot on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll -- something achieved by only one other team in Division I history (Indiana State). Eastern has been among the top five academic teams in the nation in seven of those nine years, including the 2003-04 campaign, in which the team placed first nationally with a 3.63 cumulative grade point average.
  • Two Eagles have attained ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second-team honors -- Joanna Chadd in 2006-07 and Kathleen Nygaard in 2003-04.
  • Kyla Evans received ESPN The Magazine All-District VIII honors in 2009.
  • The past nine seasons, 74 players have earned Big Sky All-Academic honors, the most in the league.
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