Eagles Snap Losing Streak, Defeat Northern Arizona

Feb. 9, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team pulled away from Northern Arizona late in a Big Sky Conference game on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 9) for a 69-62 home win. The Eagles were able to snap a 12-game losing streak with the emotional win.

"There's definitely a sense of happiness and relief in the locker room," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "We've been fighting hard. I've been so proud of this team for its resilience because we've come up short so many times in these close games. I was just very pleased with the overall team effort, and to finish it out was nice. We made plays down the stretch when we had to."

Nicole Scott led the team in points scored today with 19, while Tatjana Sparavalo contributed 15 points and Sydney Benson had 12 tallies.

"Nicole got hot for us in the second half and gave us the lift we needed," Schuller said. "We had been in a drought where we were struggling to score and, all of a sudden, Nicole started scoring and that lifted us back into a comfortable lead."

With the Eagles up by a perilous six-point margin with nine minutes to play, 49-43, having made just one of their last nine shot attempts, Scott proceeded to nail her next three shots to keep NAU from cutting into the lead. The latter of those three baskets earned the Eagles a 56-47 advantage with 5:34 to play. Eastern kept the Lumberjacks at least five points away the rest of the way to finish off its win.

Jessica Huntington contributed a career-high nine rebounds to lead the Eagles in that category to go with nine points and five assists.

"What that is, just like what the rest of the team did, is finding a way to win," Schuller said of Huntington's high rebound total. "Whether it's knocking down shots, defending their best player or getting rebounds from the point guard spot, you have got to do it and we did."

The Eagles as a team played outstanding defense today, as indicated by Northern Arizona's 38.1 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest an Eastern conference opponent has shot so far this year.

"That was one of our better defensive efforts of the year," Schuller said.

Eastern held an advantage nearly the entire game, as Northern Arizona held the lead just once, at 29-28 with 1:36 to play in the first half. The Eagles were up by as many as eight in the first half (26-18) and 13 in the second (44-31).

Eastern Washington now hits the road for the final time in the 2007-08 regular season, as the Eagles will take on Weber State at 6:05 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday (Feb. 14) and Idaho State at 1:05 p.m. two days later. The Wildcats are 9-12, 3-7 in Big Sky play, while the Bengals are currently tied for first in the league with Montana at 7-2 in league play and 15-6 overall.

The next home contest for the Eagles will take place at 2:05 p.m. on Feb. 23 versus Northern Colorado. That will mark the start of a four-game homestand for EWU to close out the regular season.

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