After EWU was selected to finish seventh in the league, Eagles win Big Sky regular season title
Eastern Washington University women's head basketball coach Wendy Schuller has been selected as the Big Sky Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, the league announced on Tuesday (March 16). The 2010 recipient was chosen in a vote by the league coaches earlier this week.
The Eagles are 19-11 overall and won the Big Sky regular season with a 12-4 record. The Eagles hosted the 2010 Big Sky Women’s Basketball Championship last week -- the first time that the tournament has been played in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern Washington returned to Big Sky tournament play after missing the postseason three-straight seasons. Not only did the Eagles get back to the tournament , but they secured the outright regular season title for the first time in program history.
Picked to finish seventh in the league by both the coaches and media, EWU's run to the conference regular season title was sparked by winning its first seven conference games. Included was a home sweep of Montana and Montana State on back-to-back nights.
Under Schuller, Eastern Washington placed two players on the 2009-10 All-Conference Team in juniors Julie Piper and Kyla Evans. Piper was named to the first team, while Evans was named to the second team. Sophomore Brianne Ryan received the honor of being named the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Montana State’s Sarah Strand.
Piper earned regular-season MVP honors and was a unanimous first team selection. She became the program’s first-ever league MVP, and had earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors as a sophomore. The Eagles haven’t had a first team All-BSC selection since Julie Page was honored in 2006.
Schuller has now collected 113 wins in nine seasons as the head coach at Eastern Washington and has posted a 56-78 record in the conference play. In her first five seasons, the Eagles qualified for the Big Sky Tournament and have now made Big Sky Championship appearances in six of her nine years at the program.
The 2009-10 season pushed the program to new heights, and with the regular season title the Eagles secured a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The appearance in the WNIT is the first postseason appearance for the Eagles since the 1987 season. The 1987 team finished second behind Montana in the league standings (the Big Sky was then known as the Mountain West Athletic Conference), but knocked off the Grizzlies 77-74 in Missoula in the tournament championship game. That earned Eastern Washington its first and only women’s berth to the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Oregon 75-56.
A native of Redlands, Calif., Schuller and her husband, Mark, have an 9-year-old son, Rory (born Oct. 16, 2000), and a 6-year-old daughter, Megan (born July 15, 2003). The family resides in Cheney.