Senior captain records game-high points and rebounds, as Eagles improve to 2-1 on the season
Senior Brianne Ryan was not only the top scorer, but led all players on the glass as well, as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team tamed the Toreros of San Diego, 68-57, on Thursday (Nov. 17) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Ryan scored nearly half of her team's total points to become the first player in the Big Sky this season to eclipse the 30-point scoring mark. Ryan's effort tonight was just three points shy of her career-high of 33, which she set last year against Sacramento State on 14-of-18 shooting from the field.
Tonight, Ryan hit 10-of-21 field goals, including three from long range, and converted 7-of-9 free throws. She also had three assists, one block, one steal and a game-high nine rebounds.
"Brianne played a great overall game," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "She's a workhorse. You see part of it in the box score with her 30 points and nine rebounds, but Brianne is also our best defender in terms of one-on-one defense. The girl she was guarding didn't do much tonight. Brianne is a player who will just go and go and go. She just did a really nice job for us."
Eastern scored the first seven points of the game, and never trailed in 40 minutes, but midway through the second half, the visiting Toreros made a run that had everyone in Reese Court on the edge of their seats. At the 14:51 mark, Ryan buried her third three-pointer of the game to give Eastern a 45-32 advantage. But over the next nine minutes, Eastern converted just one field goal, as San Diego went on a 20-7 run to tie it up at 52-52.
With just under six minutes remaining, freshman Melissa Williams missed a layup in traffic, but corralled the offensive board, and put it back for two points. Eastern then scored four more to build its lead to 58-52. The Toreros hit two free throws to pull within four, but that was the closest they would come, as sophomore Aubrey Ashenfelter drained a three on Eastern's next possession to effectively thwart any Torero momentum.
"Late in the game, we just stepped up and made plays," said Schuller. "I was really pleased with our defensive effort. Our players worked so hard on both ends of the floor. They were battling on every single possession. We really looked a lot better tonight in terms of playing team basketball."
As a team, Eastern held San Diego to 36 percent shooting from the floor, while also forcing 18 turnovers. The Eagles scored 20 points off those USD miscues.
Williams finished the game with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds. The freshman from Camas, Wash., is among the top 10 rebounders in the league this season.
Sophomore Chenise Pakootas did not miss a single shot all night, as she was 3-of-3 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line for 10 points.
Senior point guard Chene Cooper tallied six assists and had two steals, while also chipping in six points.
Eastern will wrap up its four-game home stand on Tuesday (Nov. 22) when it hosts Oregon State out of the Pac-12 Conference at 6:05 p.m. on Reese Court.