Feb. 7, 2009
In a back-and-forth Big Sky Conference women’s basketball game played on Saturday evening (Feb. 7), it was Northern Arizona that prevailed over the visiting Eastern Washington Eagles, 70-68. The exciting game saw the teams tie on nine occasions and exchange leads 17 times, including three times in the last three minutes.
Through the first 16 minutes of the contest, the teams traded advantages on 11 occasions before Northern Arizona went on a 9-0 run to put some space between the teams. The Lumberjacks would end the stanza up, 45-37.
“We got into foul trouble in the first half, and that had a big impact on NAU’s run late in the first half,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “Then, in the second half, the players who were in foul trouble were back on the floor, and we played much better defensively.”
After NAU took the largest lead of the game by either team on a made free throw, 46-37, the Eagles (9-14) started chipping away at their deficit. A 10-0 Eastern spurt mid-way through the second half, finished off by a Pauline Ferrall lay-up, earned Eastern a 58-54 lead with 9:40 to play.
The Lumberjacks (7-16) then responded with seven straight points to take the advantage right back, 61-58, with 7:18 left. After Northern Arizona took a 63-60 lead with 6:26 to play, neither team would go up by more than two tallies the rest of the way. A potential game-tying shot by Jessica Huntington with a second left hit the rim a couple times before falling off.
“We’re pretty frustrated; we felt like we gave away a game tonight,” Schuller said. “We battled and played extremely hard, but did not do some of the things down the stretch that we need to do.”
Nicole Scott played well for the Eagles tonight, leading the squad in points (12), rebounds (9), blocks (3) and steals (3). She also extended her impressive streak of consecutive free throws makes to 29 before finally seeing it come to an end. Her last miss prior to tonight had been back in the third game of the year, versus Idaho on Nov. 25.
The Eagles remain right in the middle of an incredibly-close set of standings, as Eastern’s 4-6 record puts the team in a four-way tie for fourth place with NAU, Northern Colorado and Sacramento State. Idaho State claimed a 63-58 win over Northern Colorado today to leapfrog three teams and go into sole possession of third place at 4-5. Montana State and Weber State share the cellar, just behind at 3-6.
“That’s what makes tonight’s game so hard to swallow, when you know the race is coming down to the way it is in the conference,” Schuller said. “(Potential) wins on the road are huge for us.”
Tonight’s game will be broadcasted on a tape-delay basis by FSN Arizona, which may be viewed at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday (Feb. 9) on DirecTV channel 686 or Dish Network channel 9411. There was no live television broadcast of the game.
The Eagles now return home for its final two home games of the 2008-09 season. Eastern plays host to Weber State (8-14) at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 12) before playing host to Idaho State (7-15) at 2:05 p.m. two days later.