Dec. 4, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team battled with Gonzaga on Thursday (Dec. 4) before the Bulldogs pulled away mid-way through the second half for a 71-56 win over the Eagles. A crowd of 1,157 watched the game, Eastern's largest since Nov. 21, 2006, when 1,198 saw Eastern fall to Washington 67-59.
The Eagles (3-4) battled back from down 34-21 at the half to cut their deficit to single digits at 49-40 with 9:58 to play and also at 51-42 with 8:59 left. Eastern had been down 49-34 and scored six straight points to move to within single digits. Gonzaga, however, extended the latter nine-point edge to 65-46 with a timely 14-4 run.
The Bulldogs (8-1) took immediate control of the contest right off the bat by scoring the first 12 points of the contest and keeping Eastern off the scoreboard the first 7:28 of the game. An ensuing 8-2 run cut Gonzaga's lead to 14-8 with 9:15 to play before the Bulldogs scored the next six points to go up 20-8. The Eagles would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Shooting percentages were the major difference between the teams on the stat sheet tonight. Eastern made just 29.0 percent of its shots (18-of-62), while Gonzaga converted on 51.9 percent of its attempts (27-of-52). The Bulldogs led the rebounding battle by a 40-34 count. Eastern did force Gonzaga to 21 turnovers while making just 14 itself.
Kyla Evans and Pauline Ferrall led the Eagles in scoring with nine points apiece. Julie Piper and Nicole Scott had eight points each. Piper set the rebounding pace for the team with seven boards, while Ferrall had six. Chene Copper had five assists in the game.
"I thought they played extremely hard, and they did what I asked of them," head coach Wendy Schuller said of her team. "It is just a matter of Gonzaga being a really good basketball team. They forced us to shoot a little faster, do things a little faster, and they are big and long.
"I thought our effort was good, and we only turned the ball over three times in the second half and forced 21 turnovers, which is good on the defensive end for us. I like the fact that we got 18 offensive rebounds; we just have to convert on those rebounds. They got 12, but every time they got one it was a huge offensive rebound, and ours did not seem as huge."
Eastern had balanced scoring tonight, as 29 of its 56 points were scored by bench players. In fact, EWU's bench out-scored Gonzaga's by a 29-4 count.
"I thought we had some young players step up and did a really nice job for us tonight," Schuller said.
Eastern Washington wraps up its busy stretch of six games in 12 days with a brief road trip to take on Utah State at 10 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday (Dec. 6). The Aggies are off to a 3-3 start this season.