January 2, 2012

Eastern's Woeful Shooting Leads to 53-46 Loss to Montana

After hot start, Eagles convert just 14-of-57 field goals for season-low shooting percentage of 27

Defensively, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team did its job. But its performance on the other end of the floor was a different story.

The Eagles shot a season-low 27 percent from the field, while going 0-of-16 from the perimeter in the second half, as the Montana Lady Griz defeated Eastern, 53-46, on Monday (Jan. 2) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Eastern (7-8, 1-1 Big Sky) had the home crowd on its feet after scoring the first seven points in the opening minute of the game - all of which came off the hand of the league's leading scorer, Brianne Ryan.

The Eags were able to extend that lead to 15-6 by the 12:16 mark after Montana (8-6, 1-0 Big Sky) missed 12 of its first 14 shots. But the tables quickly turned, as EWU failed to convert a single field goal over the next 5:08.

In the final 12 minutes of the first half, Eastern was 1-of-9 from the field with 11 turnovers, while the Lady Griz went on a 19-7 run to enjoy a 25-22 edge at intermission.

The shooting drought continued in the second period, as Eastern missed its first 12 field goal attempts and didn't score a single point until Carrie Ojeda hit a free throw at 13:17.

Montana was not much better though, as it converted only 34 percent of its shots, and made just 3-of-13 from downtown. But the Lady Griz did force 20 turnovers, which they converted into 25 points.

"I thought defensively we did a good job," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "We were fine on that end of the floor, but your defense can only keep you in the game for so long. You have to be able to do something offensively, and tonight, we were flat out awful."

Montana's 53 points was the fewest by any EWU opponent this season. Eastern also had a slight edge in the rebounding battle at 45-44. But it came down to shooting percentage, as the home team made a season-low 16 field goals and hit just 4-of-16 from 3-point range, including 0-of-7 in the second half.

Eastern's junior center Carrie Ojeda recorded her third-career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan was just one rebound shy of her own double-double, as she finished with 13 tallies and nine boards.

Freshman Melissa Williams had a career-high nine rebounds, while sophomore Laura Hughes added five of her own. Senior point guard Chene Cooper, who ranks first the Big Sky and fifth in the nation in assists, had eight points, five dimes and two steals.

Eastern will have its first road test of the Big Sky season on Thursday (Jan. 5) when it travels to Ogden, Utah, to take on the 2-12 Weber State Wildcats.

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