November 17, 2010

First-Half Blunders Haunt Eastern in 75-50 Loss at Idaho

The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team wishes it could have those first 20 minutes back.

In the second half of Wednesday's game against Idaho, the team shot 46 percent from the field, forced 13 turnovers and held a 13-12 advantage in rebounds, but it was simply not enough to overcome its 22-point halftime deficit. The Eagles fell to the Vandals, 75-50 at Memorial Gym in Moscow, Idaho.

"We had no sense of urgency to start the game," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "Our energy level wasn't where it needed to be and we weren't converting any shots."

The Eagles made only 8-of-30 field goals in the first half, which included an abysmal 0-of-11 from three-point range. The Eagles were also out-rebounded 27-12 in the first period, which allowed the Vandals to notch 10 second-chance points.

"Every team will suffer from a scoring drought at one point or another," said Schuller. "But when that happens, you have to buckle down defensively. Tonight, we weren't scoring, but we weren't responding on the defensive end either. We were getting worse."  

Despite the miscues in the first half, the Eagles turned it around after intermission, scoring 32 points on 13-of-28 shooting from the field. The team still struggled a bit from beyond the arc, as it converted just four of its 12 three-point attempts. The Vandals made only 11 total field goals in the second half, but six of them were from downtown.

Eastern's performance on the boards also improved in the second half, as it grabbed 13 rebounds – seven on the defensive end and six off the offensive glass. The Eags also forced 13 turnovers, which they turned into 15 points, but UI's sharp shooting throughout the contest was too much for Eastern to handle.

Senior Julie Piper led EWU with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Sophomore Brianne Ryan finished with 13 points, four rebounds and two assists, while senior Tatjana Sparavalo chipped in nine points and also grabbed four rebounds. Junior Chene Cooper had six assists and three steals in her 23 minutes of play.

The Eagles will next play Boise State, another rival from the Western Athletic Conference. Tipoff from the Taco Bell Arena in Boise is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 20).

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