Eagles Hang with No. 11 Cal in First Half, but Bears Overpower Eags in Second Leading to 91-58 Loss
Eastern hits 10 3-pointers and shoots season-high 46 percent from the field, but California dominates in the post
The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team had its best offensive performance of the season on Friday (Nov. 23) in Berkeley, Calif. But that wasn’t quite enough to get past 11th-ranked California, as EWU fell, 91-58, to open the 2012 Cal Classic by Doubletree.
Eastern (1-3) will wrap up tournament play on Saturday (Nov. 24) with a consolation game against Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m.
After shooting 58 percent in the first half, including 7-of-12 from beyond the arc, the Eagles trailed the nationally-ranked Golden Bears by just six points at the half.
“We came out really aggressive, and stuck to our game plan,” said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. “I was happy to see us get better in terms of sharing the ball and taking what the defense gives us instead of forcing shots.”
California scored the first eight points of the game, but EWU responded with a 16-4 run that put the red and white ahead by six points at the 13:58 mark.
Eastern held onto that lead until Cal hit back-to-back jumpers with just under eight minutes remaining to take a 28-25 advantage.
Over the next six minutes, the Golden Bears managed to extend their lead to 39-30, but the Eags continued to answer. EWU converted on its next three possessions to pull within two at 39-37, which forced Cal to call a timeout.
Coming out of the break, the Golden Bears hit two quick baskets as time expired to take a narrow 43-37 lead at the half.
“Cal is a good team, and they weren’t going to stop,” said Schuller. “They got really aggressive with the press early in the second half, and in a lot of ways, just wore us down.”
Within the first five minutes of the second period, California put 13 points on the board, while forcing six Eagle turnovers. EWU had only one shot opportunity in four and a half minutes.
Eastern made just 8-of-24 shots in the second half, compared to 20-of-30 for the Golden Bears. Most of those points for Cal came in the post, as the home team used its size and strength to record 34 points in the paint. Cal also out-rebounded EWU, 39-17.
“Against a team that good, you pretty much have play perfect basketball,” said Schuller. “They were big and athletic. We diverted from the game plan early in the second half, and that hurt us. We weren’t able to do the things we wanted to do defensively, and Cal just had their way with us. They were basically able to score at will in the final 10 minutes.”
Despite a challenging second half, Eastern ended the game shooting 46 percent from the field - its best offensive efficiency in the young 2012-13 season. The Eagles also hit a season-high 10 3-pointers, which was twice as many as Cal.
Junior Chenise Pakootas was responsible for four of those long-range baskets, as she was one of three Eagles to finish with 12 points.
Junior Aubrey Ashenfelter also scored 12 on 5-of-11 shooting, while junior Laura Hughes made 5-of-6 for 12 points as well.
Hughes also tied her career-high in steals with three, while Ashenfelter led the team in assists with four.