Eagles now 4-1 in Big Sky after sweep of Sac State
Juniors Brianne Ryan and Chene Cooper dazzled the crowd with nifty assists and lights out shooting, as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team rolled past Sacramento State, 98-70 on Saturday (Jan. 22) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Ryan poured in a career-high 33 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the field, while Cooper dished out a career-high 14 assists. Cooper also scored 11 points to earn her second double-double of the season.
"Brianne and Coop did so many things well tonight," praised EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "Brianne was finishing her shots in the lane, knocking down threes and playing really tough on the defensive end."
"Coop pushed the tempo all night. She makes it so hard for opponents to press us because she handles the ball so well. She is allusive and quick, and just impossible to catch."
Although Ryan and Cooper's numbers shined through in the box score, Schuller was equally pleased with the efforts of every other player on the team.
"We never talk about individual numbers and statistics, because none of that can happen if the rest of the team isn't running the floor as hard as they can," said Schuller. "I was so impressed with everyone's effort. It takes an entire team to get those kind of statistics."
Ryan's 33 tallies was only five shy of the EWU all-time record for points in a game. Vanessa Jones, who played at Eastern from 1989-1992, owns the school record with her 38 points against Lewis-Clark State on Dec. 5, 1990.
The Eagles dominated the Hornets from the opening tip, scoring 21 of the first 30 points. Thanks to a blistering .537 field goal percentage, Eastern was able to build its lead to 21 (54-33) before the end of the half. Ryan had 20 of her game-high 33 points in the first period, as she missed only one shot in the first 20 minutes (9-10).
Eastern never let up in the second, leading by as many as 35 at the 11:33 mark. Besides Ryan and Cooper, three other Eagles eclipsed double digits. Senior Tatjana Sparavalo finished with 14 points, while senior Julie Piper and freshman Chenise Pakootas both chipped in 10. Freshman Laura Hughes added eight points for EWU and a career-high seven rebounds.
Eastern held the Hornets to 33 percent shooting from the field, including just 7-of-28 three pointers. The Eagles earned a 50-36 advantage in rebounds and 26-10 lead in assists. The points in the paint was even more lopsided with Eastern owning a 42-24 edge.
"We did a great job of attacking tonight," commended Schuller. "Sac State plays a very unique style of basketball, but we decided the best way to handle their system was to just roll with it. We thought the team did a great job adjusting to the flow and rhythm."
With the win, Eastern improved to 8-9 overall and 4-1 in the Big Sky, which currently puts them in third place in the standings behind Montana State (5-0) and Northern Colorado (5-1). The Hornets remain winless in conference play (0-5) and dropped to 3-16 on the season. The Eagles are now 22-11 all-time against Sac State.
Eastern heads back out on the road for its next two conference matchups. The Eagles will wrap up its regular-season series with Portland State when it travels to Portland on Thursday (Jan. 27). Eastern will then take on Idaho State in Pocatello on Saturday (Jan. 29).