February 25, 2014

@EWUWBB Closes Out Home Slate Versus Northern Colorado, North Dakota

This Week In EWU Basketball

Northern Colorado North Dakota
Thursday, Feb. 27 | 6 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 1 | 2 p.m.
Reese Court | Cheney, Wash. Reese Court | Cheney, Wash.
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Winners of six of its last seven games, the Eastern Washington women's basketball team will play its final games in Reese Court this week, hosting Big Sky foes Northern Colorado and North Dakota. EWU opens play on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. versus the Bears before squaring off with league-leading North Dakota on Saturday, Mar. 1, at 2 p.m.

The Eagles will say goodbye to their two seniors, Aubrey Ashenfelter and Laura Hughes, prior to the start of Saturday's contest.

Eastern (14-11, 10-6 Big Sky) went a perfect 2-0 a week ago, defeating visiting Southern Utah, 59-54, on Thursday, Feb. 20, before downing Dam Cup rival Portland State on a last-second lay-up from Ashenfelter, 61-60, on Monday, Feb. 24, in Portland. The wins gave EWU sole possession of fourth place in the Big Sky standings with just two weeks of games remaining before the Big Sky Tournament.

The Eagles buried seven three-pointers and shot 16-of-22 from the free throw line against Southern Utah, overcoming its worst shooting percentage in Reese Court this season to escape with a hard-fought win. Junior Lexie Nelson led Eastern with 17 points, knocking down four three pointers. Redshirt sophomore Hayley Hodgins had a well-rounded game, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

After a rare Saturday off, EWU traveled five hours to Portland, Ore., for a date with the rival Vikings. Eastern led by as many as 12 points late in the first half only to see PSU rally to take a late lead. Junior Melissa Williams made back-to-back buckets with less than two minutes left before Ashenfelter rejected Portland State's three-point attempt into the Eagles' half of the court, chasing down the loose ball and laying it in with five seconds on the clock to put EWU up one. The Vikings' desperation heave was off the mark, giving EWU its third road win of the season.

Hodgins led all scorers with 17 points, extending her double-figure scoring streak to 15 consecutive games. Ashenfelter narrowly missed out on her fourth career double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. Nelson added 11 points while Redmon chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Northern Colorado (14-12, 8-9 BSC) enters Thursday's contest just outside of the Big Sky Tournament, just half a game back of Sacramento State, Montana State and Idaho State. The Bears are 6-5 away from home this season, including a 4-3 road mark in league counters. Stephanie Lee is the Big Sky's second-leading scorer with an average of 19.7 points per game on 51.9-percent shooting.

Eastern won this season's first meeting, 52-51, in Greeley back on Feb. 1, taking its first lead with three minutes left to play before UNC's last-second attempt rimmed out. The last three games in the series have been decided with a combined eight points, and only two of the last 10 meetings have been decided by more than 10 points.

North Dakota (18-8, 13-4 BSC) finds itself atop the Big Sky standings and one-and-a-half games ahead of both Montana and Southern Utah with two weeks of play remaining. UND owns a 5-7 road record this season and is 1-3 in its last four Big Sky games away from home. Madi Buck, the reigning Big Sky Player of the Week, leads North Dakota in scoring with an average of 16.3 points per game while Mia Loyd (14.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is the team's top rebounder.

UND controlled the first meeting in Grand Forks, holding Eastern to 33.3-percent shooting en route to winning, 82-60. North Dakota has made just one previous trip to Reese Court, losing to the Eagles, 75-72, last year in its first season in the Big Sky.

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