December 19, 2011

Eagles Fall to Pacific on the Road, 69-60

Eastern returns to Cheney on Wednesday for final non-conference tune up of the year against Idaho

The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team lost its second-straight contest on Monday (Dec. 19), as the Tigers of Pacific University upended EWU, 69-60, at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif.

With the loss, Eastern falls to 5-7 on the season, and will inevitably head into the 2011-12 Big Sky Conference season with a sub-.500 record. But the Eagles will have one more opportunity to get back on the winning track before league play commences, as they host Idaho on Wednesday (Dec. 21) at 6:05 p.m. at Reese Court.

As evidenced by a nearly identical box score, Eastern and Pacific played a highly competitive game that was not decided until the final minutes.

Both teams struggled in the first half of Monday's, with EWU converting 35.7 percent of its shots and Pacific even worse at 30.8. Both the Eagles and Tigers had 10+ turnovers and made less than 30 percent of its attempts from long range. At one point, Eastern did lead by as many as seven, but at halftime, the teams entered the locker rooms in a 25-25 deadlock.

The shooting improved in the second half, especially for Pacific, which converted 14-of-30 attempts from the field, while also knocking down 15-of-19 from the charity stripe.

Midway through the second half, the Tigers had built a double-digit lead at 53-42, but over the next two minutes, Eastern went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 53 with six minutes remaining. Four different Eagles scored points during the surge, which was punctuated by a 3-pointer from sophomore Chenise Pakootas, which was Eastern's only 3-pointer of the half.

After not converting a field goal in more than four minutes, Pacific drained back-to-back shots to take a 59-55 edge at 4:04. A minute later, Pakootas hit two free throws to make it a one-possession game, but the Tigers made two quick layups and got to the line six times in the final minute and a half to pull away with a nine-point victory.

"It was a frustrating night," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "They made a few plays down the stretch, and we didn't. We played hard though, and we had the effort and intensity back that had been missing in our last couple games. But it was a tough night."

Pakootas, along with seniors Brianne Ryan and Chene Cooper, all scored in double figures. Ryan finished with 15, followed by Coop with 14 and Pakootas with 11 total tallies. Three different Eagles had six rebounds, including Cooper, junior Carrie Ojeda and freshman Melissa Williams.

The rebounding line was really the only lopsided statistic in the final box though, as Pacific led on the glass, 42-34 and had a 23-8 advantage in second-chance points. The Tigers also scored 22 points from the free throw line, compared to 16 for EWU.

In nearly every other statistic, the Eagles and Tigers were separated by only one, including field goals made, 3-pointer field goals, assists, steals, blocks and turnovers.

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