Jan. 2, 2009
In an intense Big Sky Conference season-opening contest for both teams, the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team scored the last six points to pull away from visiting Northern Arizona in overtime, 70-64. The win allowed the Eagles to claim its Big Sky lidlifter for the sixth time in seven years.
Eastern (6-8, 1-0 BSC) battled in the extra session after Nicole Scott fouled out with 3:39 to play and Amy Bratvold received her fifth foul with 2:18 left by outscoring Northern Arizona 8-2 the rest of the way. The overtime game was Eastern’s third of the season, the team’s most since the 2004-05 squad also played three contests to go to an extra session.
The win was Eastern’s third this season earned when trailing at the halftime break. Prior to this season, the last time the Eagles had last rallied from a halftime deficit in a 66-63 win over Sacramento State on Feb. 24, 2007.
“We were not perfect tonight, but we battled,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “We had a desire to win tonight and, when it was time to make plays, we made them. NAU made some big plays, too; it was a great basketball game, and we were fortunate to come out on top.”
The back-and-forth affair saw the teams tie 13 times and exchange leads on 16 occasions. The game started all Eastern, as the Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead, not letting NAU get on the scoreboard until the 13:50 mark of the first half. Shortly thereafter, the Lumberjacks would respond to a 10-2 EWU lead by scoring nine straight points and taking their first lead of the game, 11-10.
Then the teams battled tightly, with neither squad going up by more than four until late in the second half when the Eagles scored eight straight points to snap a 48-all tie and go up 56-48 with 4:47 left. However, NAU (3-11, 0-1 BSC) then scored eight in a row itself to tie the game right back up, 56-56, with 2:07 to play.
After Northern Arizona’s Katie Schafer converted two free throws to earn the Lumberjacks a 60-58 lead with 41 seconds left, Julie Piper nailed a jumper with 14 seconds left to tie the game at 60 apiece.
Then, Northern Arizona received a reprieve when, with 0.4 seconds left and the teams battling for a rebound after an NAU missed shot, a Lumberjack committed a foul. It was, however, just the team’s sixth of the half, and there was not enough time on the clock for Eastern to get a potential game-winning shot attempt off before the buzzer sounded.
The start of overtime was more of the same, until Eastern Washington pulled away from a 64-64 tie with 1:50 on the clock by posting the last six tallies of the contest to claim the 70-64 win. A pair of free throws by both Jessica Huntington and Kyla Evans put the finishing touches on the victory.
Nicole Scott had a monster game offensively, making eight of her first 12 shots and finishing with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting. She also had seven rebounds tonight in addition to a pair of blocks. Other Eagles posting double-digit point totals included Piper (15) and Evans (10), while Piper set the game pace in rebounds with 10. Piper and Chene Cooper had three steals apiece tonight, as well.
As a team, the Eagles made all six of their free throw attempts in the second half and in overtime, while NAU converted just 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) of its attempts after the halftime break. Eastern also out-rebounded the Lumberjacks tonight, 42-36.
The Eagles play host to Sacramento State at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 4). The Hornets fell at Portland State tonight by an 81-66 score to drop to 2-12, 0-1 in Big Sky play.