March 6, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team attempted to spoil Montana's title bid on Thursday night (March 6), but fell short of the visiting Lady Griz, 62-48. The win for Montana allowed it to clinch the Big Sky Conference's regular-season title and hosting rights for the 2008 Championship.
Just when it looked like Montana was going to pull away, as it had a 19-point advantage, 42-23, with 16:47 to play in the contest, Eastern Washington showed its resolve by using a 24-9 run to cut its deficit to just four, 51-47, with 4:33 to play. At that point, however, Montana utilized an 11-1 game-ending run to put the finishing touches on its title-clinching win.
"We played a lot more as a team in the second half," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "We played with a lot more energy, a lot more enthusiasm. I just thought in the first half we looked lethargic."
In that initial stanza, Montana gradually built on a 17-14 lead with 8:32 to go by utilizing a 17-6 run to finish the half and go into the break with a 34-20 advantage.
Two Eagles had double-digit point totals today: Julie Piper and Tatjana Sparavalo, as each contributed 10 points to the Eagle effort. Leading Eastern in rebounding was Amy Bratvold, as she had five. Jessica Huntington tallied two assists, while Bratvold and Piper each had three steals in the contest.
Eastern Washington will conclude its 2007-08 season with a 2:05 p.m. home contest on Saturday (March 8). The Eagles (4-24, 1-14 BSC) will honor lone departing senior Kari Darnell prior to the game.
"Kari has played hard for us, and has been a great team kid the past two years," Schuller said. "We would like to send her out with a victory and a winning note.
"Also, we are still trying to build for next year - everything we do is trying to get us better, and Saturday is our last go at that."
Montana State (15-12, 10-5 BSC) will serve as the opposition. The Bobcats will clinch a No. 3 seed in the Big Sky Tournament with a win, while an Eagle victory will open the door for Portland State to earn the third seed with a home win over Montana.