Eastern Holds Tough with Defending Champs

Jan. 10, 2008

Box Score

The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team was right with the defending Big Sky Conference champions on Thursday evening (Jan. 10), even holding a 51-50 lead with less than 10 minutes to go before falling 76-69. Idaho State responded to that one-point deficit with a 16-2 run to pull away from the Eagles.

The pivotal point in the game came when Bengal Natalie Doma, a player ranked fifth among NCAA Division I players in points per game (23.2) and second in rebounds per contest (12.7), picked up her fourth foul and left the game at the 8:43 mark with Idaho State up 54-51. Following that point, the Bengals (10-4, 2-0 BSC) built on their 4-0 run by scoring 12 of the next 14 tallies to go up 66-53 with 6:48 to go. The closest Eastern got the rest of the way was seven (on three occasions).

The game was very close up to that ISU run, with the Eagles holding the highest lead attained by either team in the opening stanza at seven, 19-12, midway through the first half. A 6-0 run gained that advantage for Eastern. Idaho State ended the half on a high note, utilizing a 7-0 run to take a 29-28 lead into the locker room. A 6-0 Bengal run early in the second half gave the Bengals a 46-39 lead, but the Eagles would use a 9-2 run shortly thereafter to take a 51-50 lead, its last advantage in the contest.

Idaho State was also aided by a much higher shooting percentage in the second half, as the Bengals made 33.3 percent of their first half shots (9-of-27) and 51.6 percent of attempts in the second half (16-of-31). The Eagles, meanwhile, shot 34.4 percent before the break (11-of-32) and a nearly identical 37.8 percent in the second stanza (14-of-37).

Three Eagles (3-13, 0-3 BSC) had double-digit point totals today: Tatjana Sparavalo scored 19 points, Amy Bratvold had a career-high total of 18 and Katy Baker tallied 10 points. Sparavalo also led the team in rebounds tonight with eight, tying the freshman's career high in that category. Her point total was her second-highest of the campaign.

Sparavalo and Baker and three assists apiece tonight, while Baker contributed three blocks and Bratvold had two steals.

"I thought we played two very good, competitive halves of basketball tonight," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "They probably have the best player in league history on their team in Doma, and I thought our kids played really hard."

The Eagles now look ahead to a home game with Weber State (6-8, 0-2 BSC) at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 12). The contest will be Eastern's last at home until Feb. 7.

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