Senior Tatjana Sparavalo ties career high of 24 points, but it's not enough to get Eagles past Bears
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the 2011 Big Sky season, as if fell to the Bears of Northern Colorado, 75-68 on Saturday (Jan. 15) in Greeley, Colo. With the loss, Eastern drops to 6-9 in the 2010-11 season, and 2-1 in Big Sky action, while the Bears improved to 7-9 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The Eagles threatened throughout much of the second half, and pulled within four points with eight minutes to go, but the Bears converted their final six shot attempts from the floor and hit 11-of-12 free throws in the final four minutes to come away with the seven-point victory.
Tatjana Sparavalo led all players in the game with 24 points, which tied the senior's career high scoring mark. She made 9-of-14 attempts from the field, including four impressive shots from downtown.
All four of Sparavalo's three pointers came in the second half, which helped Eastern get back in the game after trailing by 12 at halftime. Sparavalo also had six rebounds for EWU.
"In the second half, when we really needed some offensive production, Tatjana stepped up and hit some big shots for us," applauded EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "She is the type of player that really has the ability to get hot, and when no one else was delivering, she got us back in it in that second half."
Junior Brianne Ryan and senior Julie Piper also scored in double figures, as Ryan notched 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Piper chipped in 13 on a .555 (5-9) field goal percentage. Piper also added seven boards, five of which came off the offensive glass.
Chene Cooper struggled with her shot against UNC, converting only 3-of-14 attempts from the field, but the junior point guard did contribute five assists and four steals.
The Eagles committed a season-high 25 turnovers in the game, which the Bears took full advantage of, scoring 24 points off the Eastern miscues.
"We didn't do a great job of handling any kind of pressure UNC put on us," said Schuller. "We made bad decisions and took some bad shots. We did a little better job in the second half, but overall, it was a pretty ugly game."
EWU finished the contest shooting just under 44 percent from the field (25-57). After missing all six of its three-point attempts in the first half, Eastern drained 6-of-7 shots from long range in the second to finish with a season-high .462 three-point field goal percentage.
Eastern will stay on the road for its next Big Sky contest, as it travels to Northern Arizona on Thursday (Jan. 20) to take on the Lumberjacks, who currently own a 7-10 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big Sky.