Led by a pair of double-doubles from Hughes and Ojeda, Eagles dominate Hornets in third-straight Big Sky win
Five different Eagles scored in double figures, while post players Laura Hughes and Carrie Ojeda each recorded a double-double to lead the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team to a 78-62 win against Sacramento State on Thursday (Jan. 12) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
The Eagles, who have now won three conference games in a row, improve to 10-8 overall and 4-1 in the Big Sky. The Hornets drop to 7-10 on the season and 2-2 in league play.
Although the final margin was only 16, Eastern Washington completely dominated the game, leading by as many as 32 points late in the second half.
Five different Eagles eclipsed double figures, including Hughes, who finished with a career-high 14 points and career-high 11 rebounds. The sophomore from West Richland, Wash., came off the bench to hit 7-of-14 field goal attempts, as well as contributing one assist, one block and one steal.
Ojeda, Eastern's starting center, also had a double-double of 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. She grabbed eight offensive boards, and seven on the defensive end. The Tacoma, Wash., native also had two assists, three steals and tied her career high in blocks with four.
"Carrie and Laura did a great job of being aggressive," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "They earned a lot themselves by working hard on the offensive glass, and our guards did a good job of feeding and penetrating to get them good shots tonight."
As a team, Eastern recorded a season-high 51 rebounds, compared to 42 for Sacramento State. Coming into the game, the Hornets were leading the Big Sky Conference in rebounding offense, averaging 45.1 per game.
"We had said before the game that one of the keys tonight would be rebounding," commented Schuller. "Our players did a great job attacking the glass. It is really hard rebounding in transition like we did. We haven't out-rebounded anyone like this in a long time."
Eastern capitalized on several of its offensive boards, as it had 18 second-chance points on the night.
After holding Sac State to 23 percent shooting in the first period, EWU went into the locker room with a comfortable 38-19 advantage. By the 8:14 mark of the second half, the Eagles had built that lead to 30 after back-to-back fast break layups by senior Breauna Russell and freshman Kylie Huerta.
In the final four minutes of the game, when EWU had all five of its starters on the bench, the Hornets managed to hit 5-of-6 field goals and convert 7-of-8 free throws, which cut their deficit in half.
The Eagles finished the game shooting 37 percent from the field, but made a season-high 34 field goals, and for the third time in six games, EWU had 20+ assists. Ten different players had at least one dime, while senior point guard Chene Cooper led all players with nine in just 24 minutes on the court.
Of the 14 players who entered the game Thursday, 11 scored points for EWU, while senior Brianne Ryan, sophomore Chenise Pakootas and freshman Melissa Williams all had 10 to join Hughes and Ojeda in double figures.
"Tonight was a great team effort and the type of win we love to get," said Schuller. "Ryan is an awesome player - one of the best in the league - but she had an off night. But that proves we are not a one-woman team. We have a lot of other good players who complement each other."
Eastern's bench accounted for nearly half of the team's total points, as it scored 38 of the 78.
The Eagles will return to Reese Court on Saturday (Jan. 14) for a matchup with defending Big Sky regular-season co-champion, Northern Colorado. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.