January 5, 2012

Eagles Knock Off Weber State, 72-60

Ryan registers season-high 32 against Wildcats and finally surpasses her mother on Eastern's all-time career scoring list

Led by Brianne Ryan's double-double of 32 points and 13 rebounds, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team celebrated its first Big Sky road win of the season on Thursday (Jan. 5) in Ogden, Utah. The Eagles topped Weber State, 72-60, to earn their seventh-consecutive win against the Wildcats and fourth in a row at the Dee Events Center.

With the win, the Eagles improve to 8-8 on the season and 2-1 in Big Sky Conference action, while Weber State drops to 2-13 on the year and remains winless in league play at 0-2.

For the third time this season, Ryan poured in 30+ points to lead her team to victory. But this time, Ryan had more to smile about than just the W. The 5-10 guard finally surpassed her mother, Neil Ann, on Eastern's all-time scorering list. Ryan now ranks eighth in the EWU career record book with 1,193 career tallies. Neil Ann Ryan (formerly Massie), who played for Eastern from 1979-82, is ninth with 1,190.

Ryan also pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the year. She was only 10-of-27 from the field, but hit three 3-pointers and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe.

"Brianne did not have her best night in terms of shooting," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "But she stayed aggressive and found ways to get points. She attacked the lane a grabbed a lot of offensive rebounds. She kept  possessions alive for us, which helped the team a lot tonight. It was good to see her figure out other ways to score on a night when she struggled from the perimeter."

Thursday's game was a physical one that saw 40 personal fouls called between the two teams. Eastern converted 18 of its 22 attempts from the line, while Weber State managed to hit just 15-of-24.

"We really stressed the importance of free throw shooting," said Schuller. "It becomes a huge factor on the road, and I was proud of our abiltity to hit those shots tonight."

Despite shooting just 34 percent from the field and committing 15 turnovers in the first half, Eastern managed to get into the locker room with a six-point edge.

With a more composed offense to start the second period, Eastern quickly began to take over the game and by the 13:08 mark, the Eagles had earned their biggest advantage of the night at 51-33.

"We didn't shoot the ball well and turned it over way too much in the first half," said Schuller. "It was a pretty ugly game overall, but I was pleased with the adjustments we were able to make in the second half. We really attacked the glass and did a much better job taking care of the basketball. We played with energy and were able to go on some runs."

After Eastern opened the second half on a 14-4 run, the Wildcats never managed to cut the deficit to single digits. They did pull within 11 points at 9:15, but Ryan buried a three on Eastern's next possession, and then scored four more over the next two minutes.

Senior point guard Chene Cooper finished the game with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and had seven assists, five rebounds and five steals.

Sophomore Aubrey Ashenfelter had six points for EWU, while post players Melissa Williams, Carrie Ojeda and Laura Hughes each chipped in four.

"We didn't do a great job getting the ball inside," said Schuller. "And that is something we will have to do night in and night out to be successful in this league. But it was good to come away with a road win, because we know those are hard to come by in the Big Sky."

Eastern will try for another one on Saturday (Jan. 7) when it plays Northern Arizona at the Rolle Activity Center in Flagstaff. Tipoff is schedule for 5:35 p.m. PST.

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