Feb. 2, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team came out for its Big Sky Conference women's basketball contest on Saturday night (Feb. 2) in front of 3,947 Montana fans determined to make a game of it and did so, trailing by just three at the half, 30-27. Unfortunately for Eastern, Montana (17-4, 7-1 BSC) pulled away in the second half to earn a 77-59 win over the Eagles.
The Eagles came out firing from the start, jumping out to an eight-point lead early on, as a Nicole Scott three-pointer finished off an 8-0 spurt and gave Eastern a 16-8 advantage seven minutes into the contest. Montana responded to that with a 22-7 run of its own and held a 30-23 advantage with 3:13 left in the half before the Eagles scored the last four points of the stanza to go into the locker rooms with a narrow 30-27 deficit.
A pair of Sydney Benson free throws two minutes into the second half tied the game, 31-31. At that point, a 12-5 UM run gave the Lady Griz a 43-36 advantage. Montana would not let its advantage get below five the rest of the way, although the Eagles (3-18, 0-8 BSC) were within 6-12 points from the 15:02-5:05 marks on the clock.
"We had it (the deficit) at (approximately) 10 points for a long time, but missed some shots and did not have some things go for us, and they hit some big shots and built that lead," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "They're obviously a good basketball team.
"We played extremely hard tonight and gave a great amount of effort. I'm proud of our effort and, although we did not get the `w' like we wanted, we grew as a team (both tonight and on Thursday against Montana State). Now we just have to turn it around and get some things taken care of at home."
Scott was on fire from downtown tonight, as she made 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc and scored a team-high 16 points in the contest. Benson contributed her third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Tatjana Sparavalo had 12 points in the tonight's game.
The Eagles out-rebounded their opposition for the third straight contest, as EWU held a 40-35 advantage on the glass tonight.
This week the Eagles played in front of their two biggest crowds of the season, as 2,786 watched Eastern take on Montana State on Thursday (Jan. 31), while tonight's game was the largest to take in an EWU contest so far this year.
Eastern Washington finally gets to return home for extended periods of time, as the Eagles have now wrapped up a stretch of 9-of-11 contests played away from home, spanning Dec. 16-Feb. 6. Eastern will now end the 2007-08 regular season with 6-of-8 games at home. First up will be Sacramento State (5-15, 3-5 BSC) at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 7).