January 13, 2011

Eagles Take Down Hornets, 88-72 for First Road Win of 2010-11 Campaign

Eastern improves to 2-0 in Big Sky after recording best field goal percentage of season

Behind a season-best .492 field goal percentage, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team rolled to an 88-72 conference victory over Sacramento State on Thursday (Jan. 13) at The Nest in Sacramento, Calif. The win was Eastern's first road victory of the year, and its second straight in Big Sky Conference action.

The Eagles, now 6-8 overall in 2010-11, will play Northern Colorado at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colo., on Saturday (Jan. 15). The Hornets fall to 0-3 in league play and 3-12 overall.

Junior Brianne Ryan led all players in the game with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The Lynden, Wash., native has now tallied 20 or more points in three consecutive outings for EWU.

"Brianne did a great job of attacking the rim and finishing shots tonight," praised EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "She played a lot of minutes in a hectic style of basketball, and did a great job of maintaining her energy and focus. She has really done a tremendous job for us in the last couple games."

Senior Julie Piper, the reigning Big Sky MVP, recorded her second double-double of the season with 19 points and a team-leading 13 rebounds. She converted 8-of-12 shots from the field, while also adding one steal, one assist and one block in her 30 minutes on the floor.

The Eags had two other players eclipse double-digits, as junior Chene Cooper finished with 15 points, and senior Tatjana Sparavalo chipped in 14. Cooper also added six assists and a season-high four steals.

The Eagles dominated Sac State down low, earning a 60-31 advantage in points in the paint. Eastern also had a 52-42 edge in rebounds and notched 27 points off 17 Hornet turnovers.

"Sac State plays a unique style of basketball that forces teams to play a much faster game than they're used to," said Schuller. "I thought we did a really nice job of adapting to that. We attacked the paint and tried to get as easy of shots as possible, and when we did, we finished."

There were seven ties and five lead changes in the first half, but the Eagles managed to build a nine-point lead (46-37) before intermission. EWU converted 50 percent of its shots in the first period, including three layups in the final minute and half.

Eastern never trailed in the second half, and led by as many as 17 at the 18:07 mark. The Hornets finished the night shooting 36 percent from the field. Sac State did hit 10 three pointers, compared to just three by EWU, but Eastern's stellar work in the key was more than enough to make up the difference.

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