Dec. 6, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team came within a hair of making it two straight wins in hostile territory before falling in a tight 71-65 overtime affair to Utah State on Saturday morning (Dec. 6).
The Eagles (3-5), in the midst of an impressive turnaround from a season ago that saw the team go winless on the road and 4-25 overall, had claimed a 70-69 overtime road win over UNLV eight days ago. That victory snapped a 14-game losing streak in road games (not counting neutral-site contests).
Today's game finished off the busiest time of the 2008-09 season for the Eagles, a span of 12 days that included six games - including two that went to overtime - played in four different states.
"It was as disappointing a loss as we have had," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "It's been a long 12 days, and our players fought hard and gave ourselves an opportunity to win. To put ourselves in a good position to win and not finish was disappointing for all of us."
Once again, Kyla Evans was on fire offensively today, as she made 5-of-8 from three-point range, 5-of-9 overall. Today marks the third time in eight games this season that she has made more than 50 percent of her three-point attempts. Evans had 15 points to lead the Eagles in scoring.
Nicole Scott had a solid game with a double-double, 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and Amy Bratvold came off the bench for 10 tallies. Jessica Huntington and Chene Cooper each played the point well, as the two players had six and five assists, respectively.
The Eagles out-rebounded Utah State 42-39 (17-8 on the offensive end), but were hurt by their 33.3 percent shooting from the floor (Utah State made 50.0 percent of its shots). However, Eastern did make 56.3 percent from three-point territory versus USU's 33.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. And EWU took 15 more shots than the Aggies, 10 more from the three-point line.
The teams were tight throughout the first half, staying within five points of each other until Utah State (4-3) grabbed a 25-19 edge with 3:33 to play. However, the Eagles rallied from a 26-21 deficit with 2:58 left to go on an 11-2 run to close the half and took a 32-28 lead into the break. A trio of threes accounted for nine of those 11 points, two by Evans and one by Brianne Ryan to close the half's scoring with five seconds to play.
Eastern Washington led the majority of the first 14 minutes of the second half until a 6-0 Utah State spurt earned the Aggies a 55-50 advantage with 3:53 to play. The Eagles were not going away, however, and a pair of treys by Huntington and Evans quickly gave EWU a 56-55 lead with 1:52 left. An old-fashioned three-point play by Ryan earned Eastern a 59-55 edge with 57 seconds showing on the clock. Utah State then converted a pair of lay-ups in the final minute to send the game into the extra session.
The Aggies then kept their momentum going by finishing off a 9-0 run by taking a quick 64-59 advantage 41 seconds into overtime. The deficit was too much for Eastern to recover from, as the Eagles were unable to get closer than three the rest of the way.
With its second this morning, Eastern has already played more overtime games in a season since the 2004-05 team had three that season.
Eastern will now take a break from game competition for a week before playing host to Pacific at 2:05 p.m. next Saturday (Dec. 13). The Tigers are 2-3 and play Fresno State and Idaho prior to facing Eastern. The Eagles will follow that contest by playing host to Portland at 7:05 p.m. on Dec. 15.