Eastern ties best conference start in program history as it defeats Idaho State in showdown for first place
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team continued its record start in Big Sky Conference play by defeating the second-place Idaho State Bengals 70-60 Friday (Jan. 22) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
With the victory, the Eagles remain in first place in the Big Sky and extended their conference record to 6-0 to tie the best conference start in program history. The last time the Eagles started 6-0 in league play was the 1984-85 season when Eastern competed in the Mountain West Conference.
"Tying the record was something I was unaware of until they announced it over the PA system," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "I think it is something our team has earned and we are really happy to be off to a 6-0 start. We are taking them one game at a time, we really are."
"We understand that there are a lot of games left," said Schuller. "We know our league is full of good basketball teams who on any given night can beat any other team. We are just trying to take care of business one at a time."
Idaho State was 4-1 in Big Sky play coming into the contest, and with the loss is now in a second-place tie with Portland State as both teams are 4-2 in league play.
Eastern, now 12-6 overall and 7-1 at home, will face Weber State Saturday (Jan. 23) at Reese Court with tip-off set for 7:05 p.m. With a victory over the Wildcats, the Eagles would record their best conference start in program history. Weber State is coming off of an 87-62 loss Friday (Jan. 22) at Portland State and has lost three-straight games.
The Eagles shot 48.1 percent from the field in the contest, including 50 percent from the three-point line on 8-of-16 shooting. Eastern out-rebounded the Bengals 44-32 and turned the ball over 15 times compared to 10 turnovers by the Bengals.
"I was really happy with how we shot the ball tonight," said Schuller. "We set a goal to shoot at least 42 percent from the field in every game. We took a few bad shots tonight but overall we shared the ball."
Nicole Scott made plays all over the court, scoring 15 points while pulling down seven rebounds and blocking two shots. Jessica Huntington scored 14 points while dishing out six assists.
"I thought Nicole Scott and Jessica Huntington stepped up and played well," said Schuller. "Our two seniors played the way seniors are supposed to play at this point in their career. I thought they were both huge in getting us momentum, helping us build the lead and making big plays. They both hit some huge shots for us as well."
Brianne Ryan put together her third double-double of the season, contributing 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kyla Evans was also in double figures with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc. Julie Piper had a game-high 13 rebounds and chipped in eight points.
Besides a 22-22 tie at the 2:51 mark in the first half, the Eagles led the entire game. Eastern expanded on its four point half time lead in the second half, and led by as many as 18 points.