EWU Plays at Home Saturday

Dec. 10, 2007

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The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team will play its final home game for nearly a month on Saturday (Dec. 15) with a 2:05 p.m. contest versus Great Falls. Before that can happen, however, the Eagles will hit the books hard this week, as EWU will have its final exams Monday-Thursday (Dec. 10-13).

The Eagles will follow that game with five straight contests away from Cheney, although the middle game of that stretch will be just up the road in Spokane versus Gonzaga on Dec. 29.

Eastern is coming off a 1-1 week which saw the Eagles snap a six-game losing streak with an outstanding defensive performance against Idaho before unfortunately returning the favor against Portland, committing 28 turnovers in a loss.

"We beat Idaho and took a step forward there, but took another step back when we played Portland," head coach Wendy Schuller said.

"Part of being able to defend is defending without fouling, and we had huge foul trouble in the first half against Portland," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "It affected the way we were able to play in a lot of ways and the personnel we were able to have on the court. We have to do a better job defending without fouling - that is first and foremost the biggest area we need to improve on."

The Great Falls Argonauts are 6-5 on the season. The Eagles and Argonauts have met just one time, an 88-75 Eagle win on Nov. 25, 1983. Saturday's game will serve as an exhibition game for UGF, but will count in Eastern's season record.

"Great Falls is very well coached and much improved on last year," Schuller said. "They are going to come in here and play hard. I played NAIA basketball (at Fresno Pacific) and I know that when an NAIA school has a chance to play a Division I school, it is kind of a Super Bowl for them, and they are going to give us their best shot."


Looking Back at Last Week

Last week, the Eagles defeated Idaho 65-53 and lost to Portland 85-58.

Against the Vandals, Eastern's defense led the way. The Eagles not only held Idaho scoreless for a 5:39 span in a 17-0 run but actually did not allow a Vandal field goal to tickle the twine for a 14:15 span. By the time that stretch was over, EWU held a commanding 57-40 victory and cruised to the win from there.

Tatjana Sparavalo helped jump start the Eagles at the end of the first half. She contributed an old-fashioned three-point play with 14 seconds left and then had a spectacular pass to Julie Piper for a lay-up at the first-half horn to give EWU a 40-34 halftime edge.

In the game with Portland, a team which at 7-3 is off to one of its best starts in school history, the Eagles were burned by their 28 turnovers. Every other aspect of the game was relatively similar between the teams, as each team shot 44 percent from the floor and UP held just a 40-35 advantage in rebounds.

Kyla Evans scored 20 points in the contest, which ties for an Eagle season high (she also had 20 against Nevada on Nov. 15). In last week's two contests combined, she averaged 15 points a game and shot 60.0 percent on three-point shots (6-of-10) and 54.5 percent from the field (12-of-22).


Get That Shot Out of Here

The Eastern Washington Eagles have shown its high aptitude for blocking shots this season, as their average of 4.33 per game leads the conference and ranks the team 61st nationally. The Eagles had a Big Sky Conference-leading 10 blocks against Nevada on Nov. 15.

Leading the way for Eastern in that category are Nicole Scott (third in the BSC, 1.22 per game), Sydney Benson (eighth, 0.78), Paige McGowan and Kyla Evans (each is tied for 15th with 0.56).


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.

On the court, Kyla Evans has shot lights out from three-point range, as she ranks 23rd among all NCAA Division I players in three-point makes per game (2.78) and 36th in three-point shooting percentage (43.9). She ranks first and seventh among Big Sky Conference players in those respective categories.

Also, Evans is in 13th place in the league in scoring average (11.9) and is tied for 15th in blocks per game (0.56).

Last week she averaged 15 points a contest and shot 60.0 percent from the three-point line (6-of-10) and 54.5 percent from the floor (12-of-22).

Against Portland on Saturday (Dec. 8), she had her second 20-point scoring performance of the year (she also had that many points against Nevada on Nov. 15). Those point totals tie for Eagle season highs.

She had an incredible start to her collegiate career, as the freshman nailed eight of her first 10 three-point shots.


Passing the Rock

Sophomore point guard Jessica Huntington has led the Eagles in assists throughout the season and is averaging 5.00 per contest, tied for the third-highest average among Big Sky Conference players and 37th among NCAA Division I players.

Also, her assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67, 45-to-27) is the third-highest in the league and 85th-best nationally.

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 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 against Portland State on Jan. 25, 2003.

"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."


Give Me That Ball Back

Katy Baker is an all-around player for the Eagles, but she is leading the team with 1.89 steals per game, tied for third among Big Sky Conference players.

The junior is also 12th in the league in scoring average (12.6) and 14th in free throw shooting percentage (75.0).


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. That percentage on three-point shots had been surpassed just two times in the past three seasons.


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:

• 1) Montana
• 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.

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