Jan. 15, 2009
The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team kept battling throughout the second half of its home game with Northern Colorado on Thursday evening (Jan. 15), but just could not get over the hump in a 55-53 loss to the Bears. The Big Sky Conference game was filled with Northern Colorado making runs to go up by 7-11 points, then the Eagles storming back to cut their deficit to just 1-3 points.
The only tie in the game came early on when Brianne Ryan nailed a jumper to tie the game 2-2. Later in that stanza, the Bears went on an 8-0 run to go up 22-12 with 5:59 to play. Then, with 17:41 to play in the second stanza and the Eagles trailing 31-24, Eastern scored six straight points on threes from Ryan and Kyla Evans to cut its deficit to just 31-30 with 16:30 left.
After Northern Colorado (8-8, 2-1 BSC) built its advantage back up to 11 at 43-32 with 10:17 left, the Eagles stormed back with 10 straight tallies (five by Nicole Scott) to once again cut their deficit to just one at 43-42 with 6:50 left. Then, with UNC up 53-44 with 2:45 left, the Eagles put together a clutch 7-1 spurt to go down by just three, 54-51, with 1:03 showing on the clock.
After a Northern Colorado turnover gave the Eagles (8-10, 3-2 BSC) the ball with 30 seconds left, the Eagles turned it back over to UNC with 11 seconds to play. A Bear free throw with eight seconds to play put Northern Colorado up 55-51, and a Jessica Huntington jumper with 0.6 seconds put the final tallies of the evening on the scoreboard.
Huntington had five assists to lead all players in that category tonight to go with seven points (2-of-2 shooting from the floor as well as from the free throw line) and four rebounds. Nicole Scott led the Eagles with 11 points and had four rebounds, while Julie Piper set the team pace in rebounds with nine. Chene Cooper had three steals in the contest.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were perhaps most hurt by the team’s 26 turnovers.
“I am not pleased with our turnovers; you are not going to win a lot of basketball games when you do that,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “We made some mistakes and did not take good enough care of the ball. It hurts to know that we lost by two giving up that many possessions.
“I thought our defensive effort was really solid all night long, and when you hold a team to 55 points, you should win basketball games. Northern Colorado just did a better job and held us to 53.”
Eastern will now have nine days until its next contest, at home versus first-place Portland State at 2:05 p.m. on Jan. 24. The Vikings (11-5, 4-0 BSC) are currently tied with Montana (15-3, 4-0 BSC) in the Big Sky’s regular-season race. They will play host to Northern Colorado on Saturday (Jan. 17) before playing the Eagles seven days later.