Eagles remain in first place despite loss to Sacramento State, winners of six-straight Big Sky contests
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team ran into a red-hot Sacramento State Hornets squad Saturday (Feb. 6) and lost 78-69 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Even with the loss, the Eagles remain in first place in the Big Sky Conference and will look to get back on track on the road against the Montana schools next week. Eastern is now 14-8 overall and 7-2 in the league.
With the win over the Eagles, the Hornets have now reeled off six-straight victories in the conference. Sac State improved to 10-12 overall and 6-4 in the league, including a 83-78 victory over second-place Portland State on Friday (Feb. 5).
"I want to give Sac State a lot of credit," said Eastern head coach Wendy Schuller. "They've had a big last 30 hours. They came in and played extremely hard tonight after playing on the road Friday night. I feel like they came in and smacked us in the mouth and we didn't respond the way we needed to respond, especially early in the game."
The Eagles were led in scoring by forward Nicole Scott, who finished the contest with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Scott also had a team-high nine rebounds. Jessica Huntington finished with eight assists while committing zero turnovers. Julie Piper, Kyla Evans, Brianne Ryan and Tatjana Sparavalo all finished in double-figures.
The Eagles committed 23 fouls and sent Sacramento State to the line 34 times, with the Hornets connecting on 25 free throws. Both teams had trouble holding onto the ball, as the Eagles committed 19 turnovers and the Hornets committing 20. The Hornets pulled down 48 rebounds -- including 13 on the offensive end -- compared to 36 by the Eagles.
Sac State led by as many as 16 in the first half, but EWU scored the last 10 points of the half to pull within 37-31 at intermission. Eastern trailed by 19 with 6:34 left in the game at 70-51, but used a 14-2 run to pull within seven late in the game. The Hornets made 4-of-6 free throws in the final 45 seconds to clinch the win.
"The last five minutes we picked up our intensity and we started attacking more on offense," added Schuller. "The other 35 minutes I don't think we played the way we are capable of playing. I think Sac State went at us."