November 13, 2011

Pressure Defense Gets the Best of Eastern in 90-69 Loss to Hofstra

Sophomore Aubrey Ashenfelter tallies career-high 20 points, but Eastern concedes 32 points off turnovers

Meeting for the first time in history, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team lost to a fast and physical Hofstra squad, 90-69, on Sunday (Nov. 13) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Eastern, now 1-1 on the season, committed 27 turnovers in the game and gave up 52 points in the paint.

"Hofstra plays with a different level of physicality," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "They are bigger and more athletic than what we're used to seeing. We watched a lot of film and talked about it, but until you actually play against a team like that, it can be very difficult. They have a good inside presence and attack they lane hard, which they certainly did today."

Right from tipoff in Sunday's contest, Hofstra presented a suffocating pressure defense. The Eagles committed 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game. But despite the miscues, Eastern hung with the Pride for awhile with its own brand of tough defense.

Hofstra had six turnovers and committed seven fouls in the opening minutes of the game, which allowed EWU to earn a three-point (19-16) edge at the 11:49 mark. Hofstra made four of its next six shots and sunk two free throws to take a 26-21 lead. Eastern answered with a bucket by sophomore Laura Hughes, followed by two made free throws by junior Courtney Nolen, but after that, the game started to unravel for the red and white.

Hofstra went on a 23-5 run to close out the period, giving them a 19-point edge at intermission. Eastern made only one field goal in the final 8:38 of the half, as it went into the locker room shooting 32 percent from the field.

"We did not do a good job against the pressure in the first half," said Schuller. "But I thought we made some good adjustments in the second. We made the extra pass to try and create shots for each other, and we really attacked the offensive glass."

Eastern shot 45 percent from the field in the second half and out-rebounded Hofstra 23-15, which included an 11-3 edge in offensive boards.

Although Eastern handled the pressure better in the second period, Hofstra continued to shoot the ball well on its end, converting 54 percent of its field-goals attempts, and 10-of-14 free throws.

The scoring margin in the second half favored Hofstra by a mere two points, but the late run by the visitors at the end of the first proved too much for EWU to overcome.

Sophomore guard Aubrey Ashenfelter led Eastern with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Hughes had her second-straight double-digit outing, as she finished with 10 points on a 5-of-7 effort from the floor. The West Richland, Wash., native also tallied four rebounds and three assists.

Senior guard Chene Cooper had seven assists and two steals in the game, but had nine turnovers as a result of Hofstra's overwhelming defense.

The Eagles now look ahead to their next matchup against San Diego on Thursday (Nov. 17). Eastern will host the Toreros at 6:05 p.m. on Reese Court.

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