Dec. 4, 2007
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team will wrap up its three-game homestand with a game against Idaho at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 5) prior to hitting the road for a game against Portland at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 8).
"We are excited to play again and just have to get over the hump," head coach Wendy Schuller said.
The Eagles (1-6) saw Nicole Scott attain a double-double against UC Irvine on Friday (Nov. 30) with 17 points and 13 rebounds, but were defeated when a 9-0 Anteater run spanning both halves proved to be the difference in UCI's 68-57 win.
Two days later, the Eagles were undone by an incredible shooting performance by Utah State. The Aggies had averages that were significantly higher than what they had so far this season, as well as considerably above what Eastern had allowed, as USU made 56.8 percent of its shots (25-of-44), 66.7 percent of its three-point shots (8-of-12) and 94.1 percent of its charity tosses (16-of-17).
"We spent a lot of time on the scouting report, and they were getting the shots that we had been talking about that we can't allow," Schuller said. "To Utah State's credit, they shot the heck out of the ball. They came into the game shooting 32 percent from three-point range and ended up shooting 67 percent. We tried to play the statistics, and they knocked shots down. They deserve a lot of credit for that."
The Eagles did succeed in improving their rebounding skills last week, as Eastern outrebounded UC Irvine 47-40 and Utah State 35-28.
The Vandals are 0-7 and lost their most recent game by a 70-58 score on Dec. 1, a home contest with North Dakota State.
"Idaho is as hungry as we are for a `W,'" Schuller said. "Both teams will play extremely hard, and it will be a battle."
Eastern has taken 2-of-3 meetings with Idaho. The Vandals won 73-60 on Nov. 29, 2006, in Moscow, while the Eagles took a 65-63 decision on Dec. 30, 2005, the last meeting to take place in Cheney.
The Pilots are 6-2 and off to their best start since the 1997-98 team started its campaign 9-2. Portland most recently toppled Oregon, 78-74, on Sunday (Dec. 2) and is 2-1 against the Pacific-10 Conference, having also beaten Washington State and fallen to Arizona. Montana pays a visit to Portland on Wednesday (Dec. 5) before the Eagles arrive this weekend to complete UP's seven-game homestand.
"Portland is playing really well," Schuller said. "Their returning players are doing really well and they have done a great job continuing to improve. They're going to be a tough opponent on the road."
The Eagles have won three straight meetings with Portland. Last year, Eastern earned an 84-66 New Year's Eve victory over the Pilots in Cheney, while the Eagles also claimed the last game to take place in the Rose City, by a 52-38 score on Dec. 11, 2004.
Get That Shot Out of Here
The Eastern Washington Eagles have shown its high aptitude for blocking shots so far this season, as their average of 5.0 per game leads the conference and ranks the team 36th nationally.
Leading the way for Eastern in that category are Nicole Scott (fifth in the BSC, 1.14 per game), Sydney Benson (tied for sixth, 1.00), Kyla Evans (tied for 10th, 0.71) and Paige McGowan (tied for 10th, 0.71).
Passing the Rock
Sophomore point guard Jessica Huntington has led the Eagles in assists throughout the season and is averaging 4.9 per contest, the sixth-highest average among Big Sky Conference players and 53rd among NCAA Division I players. Also, her assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55, 34-to-22) is the fourth-highest in the league.
In Eastern Washington's 66-62 loss to Akron on Nov. 22, she contributed nine assists to the Eagle cause. She also had nine against UC Irvine on Friday (Nov. 30).
Those totals are the most posted by an Eastern player since Leah Gonnella had nine versus Montana State on Jan. 26, 2006. Nobody has had more than nine since Michelle Demetruk tallied 11 on Jan. 25, 2003, against Portland State.
"I saw some great improvement from Jessica in terms of handling some pressure full court and not worrying about it," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "I thought she was real offensive minded."
What Shooting Performances
The Eagles had a pair of outstanding shooting performances in their first two games of the 2007-08 season. Against Montana Tech in the season-opening contest on Nov. 11, the Eagles shot 50.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc (10-of-20) and 91.7 percent from the free throw line (11-of-12).
Eastern Washington then shot 50.0 percent on three-point shots (4-of-8) against Nevada on Nov. 15. Incredibly, that percentage had been surpassed just two times in the past three seasons.
Kyla's Blog - Everyone's Reading It!
Freshman guard Kyla Evans has been writing a weekly blog on her life adjusting to her first year in college and as an NCAA Division I basketball player. New blogs are posted by Tuesday each week and may be accessed on the women's basketball page at WWW.GOEAGS.COM.
This week, she writes about why being a college athlete rocks her socks off.
On the court, Kyla Evans has shot lights out from three-point range, as she ranks 27th among all NCAA Division I players in three-point makes per game (2.7) and 83rd in three-point shooting percentage (40.4). She ranks first and eighth among Big Sky Conference players in those respective categories.
She had an incredible start to her collegiate career, as the freshman nailed eight of her first 10 three-point shots.
Also, Evans is tied for 10th in blocks per game (0.71) and is in a 17th-place stalemate in scoring average (11.0).
Give Me That Ball Back
Katy Baker is an all-around player for the Eagles, but she is leading the team (and ranks fourth among Big Sky Conference players) in steals per game with 2.14.
Also, the junior is 13th in the league in scoring average (12.6) and tied for 14th in free throw shooting percentage (75.0).
Quartet Signs with Eagles
Four players have signed letters of intent on Nov. 14 to attend Eastern Washington University and play for the women's basketball squad, head coach Wendy Schuller announced. The signees will begin their Eastern careers in 2008-09 after inking their names on the first day of the NCAA early signing period.
The new players include Pauline Ferrall, a 6-2 post from Carmel (Calif.) High School, Breauna Russell, a 5-6 guard from Washington H.S. in Phoenix, Ariz., Brianne Ryan, a 6-0 guard from Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash., and Meaghan White, a 6-2 forward from Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore.
"Just looking at the credentials of this class is very exciting," Schuller said. "We have added young ladies who are outstanding individuals, exceptional basketball players and winners. I am very pleased with the recruiting efforts of (associate head coach and recruiting coordinator) Tom Webb and our entire staff and team.
"We have assembled a class that will fit in well with our team and has the ability to help take us to the next level. I love the enthusiasm of this group and know they are great additions to our Eastern Washington women's basketball family."
And the Honors Go To ...
Eastern Washington as a team was honored over the summer, being named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. It marked the sixth consecutive season the Eagles had ranked 10th or higher in the rankings. That span included a No. 1 ranking in 2003-04.
Eagles Picked Seventh
Eastern Washington was picked seventh in both the preseason coaches poll and in the preseason media poll. The polls were nearly identical from the top down:
2) Idaho State
3) Montana State
4) Weber State (coaches), Northern Arizona (media)
5) Northern Arizona (coaches), Weber State (media)
6) Portland State
7) Eastern Washington
8) Sacramento State
9) Northern Colorado
54s are Wild
With Nov. 7's exhibition game between Eastern Washington and Central Washington wrapping down, the score was tied 54-54 with 54 seconds left. Then Eastern's #54 player Nicole Scott nailed the first-three point shot she had ever made in an Eagle uniform to give the Eagles a 57-54 lead with 35 seconds left that they would not relinquish.