Dec. 2, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team outscored Montana Tech 40-29 in the second half and defeated the visiting Orediggers 73-63 on Tuesday evening (Dec. 2). The Eagles played aggressive defense in the game, as the team’s 15 steals is Eastern’s most since EWU had 19 against Northern Colorado on March 1, 2007.
Leading the Eagles (3-3) in scoring and in rebounding tonight was Julie Piper, who had 14 and 15, respectively. Nicole Scott also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Three other Eastern players had double-digit point totals, as well. Kyla Evans contributed 12, Jessica Huntington had 11, and Pauline Ferrall tallied 10. Ferrall’s came on 5-of-7 shooting, and she also had three blocks in the contest.
The teams battled back-and-forth in the first half of tonight’s game, with Eastern taking an early 5-0 lead, but the Orediggers (3-5) responding with a 16-4 run to grab a 16-9 advantage. Eastern Washington then cut into the lead and tied it on four occasions before finally taking a 33-30 edge with 1:18 to play in the half. However, Montana Tech scored the last four points before the break and entered its locker room with a 34-33 edge.
Eastern Washington asserted itself out of the break, scoring the first eight points of the stanza to go up 41-34. Even though Montana Tech would come to within a pair of points on three occasions (46-44, 48-46 and 50-48), the Eagles responded to that latter narrow edge with 10 straight tallies to take a commanding 60-48 lead with 6:20 to play. After the Orediggers quickly cut their deficit to five at 60-55, Evans nailed a three to put distance between the teams.
For the second time this season, Eastern Washington has won after trailing at the half. The Eagles trailed San Francisco 38-33 at the break on Nov. 21 before claiming an 80-70 win. That was the first time since Feb. 24, 2007, the Eagles had claimed a victory after losing at the break, and two of Eastern’s three wins this year have been of the comeback variety.
“I thought Montana Tech came in and played extremely hard and gave us a battle,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “I was really pleased with our effort on the glass with 23 offensive rebounds, and to out-rebound them by 16 (50-34) is really good for us. I liked that we forced 21 turnovers and shot well from the line, 16-for-18. Those are all good things and things you want to do on your home court.
“I was not totally pleased with our shot selection and did not think we were patent enough to get great shots, and we have to do a better job with that. I think our shooting percentage and three-point percentage is a reflection of that (33.8 and 17.6, respectively). I thought we played hard and, when it came time to make some big plays, we stepped up. I thought our big players did a really nice job today.”
The Eagles now look ahead to their annual rivalry contest with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs (7-1) pay a visit to Cheney and Reese Court for a 7:05 p.m. contest on Thursday (Dec. 4). The last time the teams played on the EWU campus, the Bulldogs pulled out a wild 103-102 overtime affair. That game took place on Dec. 9, 2006.