Nov. 18, 2007
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team saw early promise in its game with Pacific-10 Conference member Washington State by jumping out to a commanding 13-0 lead, but before long the Cougars stormed back and took an advantage they would not relinquish. Washington State ended up winning the Sunday afternoon (Nov. 18) contest 70-59.
The Eagles (1-2) kept WSU (1-2) scoreless the first six minutes of the meeting between Inland Northwest rivals, as the team scored the initial 13 points of the contest, including six by Sydney Benson. At that point, however, it was Washington State's turn to keep Eastern off the scoreboard, as the Cougars went on a 21-0 lead over the next six minutes.
At that point, the game of runs took another turn when EWU scored the next seven points to cut its deficit to one, 21-20, with 4:45 left in the half. A Cougar 17-2 spurt however put distance between the teams again and put WSU up 38-22 with 1:21 elapsed in the second stanza.
An 11-1 Eastern run followed to bring the Washington State lead down to six at 39-33, but it quickly went back up to double digits at 45-35. The closest the Eagles came the rest of the contest would be two at 47-45 with 11:03 showing on the clock. Eastern Washington did, however, respond to eight straight Cougar points and a 55-45 deficit with a 10-4 run to get to within four at 59-55 with 4:35 left. At that point, however, Washington State put the game away with seven straight tallies.
"We stopped scoring; we stopped defending," head coach Wendy Schuller said of the numerous scoring droughts Eastern had in the contest. "We missed point-blank lay-ups, and we have to put those balls in the basket. Also, the times when you can't score are the times when the defense needs to be at its best, to withstand those scoring droughts."
Most of WSU's scoring successes today came from Heather Molzen, who hit on 10-of-14 shots and scored a game-high 21 points.
"She is a kid who has really worked on her game and improved," Schuller said of Molzen. "We didn't do the things that we need to be able to do to shut her down. To her credit, she did a great job finishing."
In the contest, the Cougars as a team were bolstered by impressive shooting, while the Eagles were hurt by their shooting percentage. Washington State made 49.1 percent of its shots from the floor (28-of-57) and 46.2 percent from beyond the three-point stripe (6-of-13), while Eastern hit on 37.7 percent of its shots from the floor (20-of-53) and 18.8 percent from three-point range (3-of-16).
Individual statistical leaders for Eastern Washington included Benson (19 points, including 7-of-7 on free throws, and seven rebounds), Nicole Scott (17 points, including 3-of-6 on three-point attempts), Katy Baker (12 points) and Amy Bratvold (six rebounds). The three-point makes for Scott were the first of her Eagle career.
Eastern Washington now looks ahead to a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, and some tough intersectional competition in Akron and Marist. The Eagles take on the Zips at 2 p.m. Pacific Time on Thanksgiving afternoon (Nov. 22) in their opening contest of the Oahu Classic before facing the Red Foxes at 2 p.m. two days later. Akron is 1-2 on the season, while Marist is 3-1. The Red Foxes are coming off an NCAA Sweet 16 season and its only loss this season came on the road to No. 16 Ohio State by a narrow 63-57 score.