Feb. 28, 2009
The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team were outlasted by a team battling for the Big Sky Conference’s regular-season title in its last regular-season home game of the season, 72-60. The Saturday afternoon (Feb. 28) contest saw Portland State go on a pivotal 11-0 run late in the first half to tie Montana for first place in the league with two games to play.
Chene Cooper once again set a career high with 18 points, leading the Eagles in points in a game for the first time. In home games with Weber State and Idaho State on Feb. 12 and 14, respectively, she had 14 tallies apiece to set her then-career mark. The freshman also had four steals, two assists and a block today.
Pauline Ferrall came within one of the freshman’s career high with 13 points today. She also had eight rebounds to tie her career mark in that category and lead the team. Cameryn Calhoun, another freshman, set her career high in points scored, as well, with 10 tallies. She also led the Eagles in assists today with three.
That trio of freshmen had combined for one start entering today before all three were given the starting nod versus the Vikings.
“They all responded really well,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “Each did a nice job being aggressive and on the offensive end.”
Jessica Huntington had two blocks today, her first two of the season, to pace the team in that category and tie a career high, originally set versus Utah State on Dec. 2, 2007. She also had five points and two assists in this afternoon’s contest.
Portland State helped itself considerably today with its 41-27 rebounding advantage over the Eagles. The Vikings also had 16 offensive boards (Eastern had seven).
“We just did not do a good enough job rebounding in the second half (PSU outrebounded Eastern 26-16 after the break, 12-5 on the offensive end),” Schuller said. “Portland State was more aggressive on the offensive boards, and we were not able to match that.”
Eastern Washington (10-17) had stormed out of the gates, taking early 7-0 and 9-2 leads, before Portland State (20-7, 13-1 BSC) went on a 11-4 run to tie the score at 13. That 11-0 Portland State run later in the half would earn the Vikings a 13-point advantage at 33-20 with 4:33 showing on the clock.
“We just could not buy a basket (during that 11-0 run), and they knocked down some big shots” Schuller said. “Portland State is explosive and are able to go on big runs in a hurry, and that is what they did there.”
Although the Eagles did cut their deficit to four on two occasions, 34-30 and 36-32, that would be the closest the team would get. The tight 34-30 deficit was the result of a 10-1 run by the Eagles late in the opening stanza.
“Portland State deserves a lot of credit,” Schuller said. “They are a great basketball team with veterans who do a great job taking care of business when it is time to do so. We played hard, had good focus and intensity and just got cold offensively at the time that we cannot do against a high-powered team like they are.”
The Eagles wrap up the regular season in the Treasure State. Eastern takes on Montana (24-4, 13-1 BSC) on Thursday (March 5) and Montana State on Saturday (March 7). Both games tip off at 6:05 p.m. Pacific Time.
At the time of this release (between the afternoon and evening Big Sky games on Saturday), Eastern is tied for seventh place at 5-9 in the conference, sharing that spot with Northern Arizona. The Eagles are, however, just one game out of fourth.