Eastern's offense thrives thanks to tough defensive effort in 2011-12 debut
Senior captain Brianne Ryan scored 28 points in just 21 minutes on the floor to lead the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team to a 97-61 rout of Warner Pacific in an exhibition game on Sunday (Nov. 6) in Cheney, Wash.
The game does not count in the season record or statistics for either team.
At halftime in Sunday's contest, the Eagles had built a 50-25 advantage on the Knights. Ryan, a 2011 All-Big Sky First-Team selection, scored nearly half of those points, as she poured in 22 before intermission. The Lynden, Wash., native played only the first five minutes of the second half, and knocked down two three pointers during that time to finish the game with 28 total points on 11-of-15 shooting. She also had six rebounds and two steals.
"Last year, Brianne was on the verge of becoming something special," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "I think people got a good look at that today."
In addition to Ryan, nearly every player who stepped onto the court on Sunday scored at least two points for the Eagles, which included 47 from the bench.
As a team, EWU shot 54 percent from the field and hit 9-of-20 three-point attempts.
Much of that offensive success can be attributed to the tough defense displayed by the home team.
"Our main goal coming into this game was on the defensive end," said Schuller. "We spent a lot of time working on it in practice and wanted to execute good team defense. There were still a few errors that we can expect to see, but overall I thought our effort was really good. Our energy level and intensity level was high, and it created a lot of offense for us."
Eastern forced 21 turnovers in the game, which led to 26 points on the other end.
"We really flew around and got into their passing lanes," added Schuller. "We want to be able to see the ball no matter where it is. At times, we were really good at that and other times, we weren't. But overall, our main goal is to create offense with our defense."
Eastern's sophomore guard Chenise Pakootas joined Ryan in double figures, as she finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. She hit all three of her attempts from long range.
"Chenise shot the ball really well," said Schuller. "We know she has the ability to do that, and it was nice to see a sophomore step up offensively."
Senior guard Chene Cooper had eight points, four assists and two steals in her 18 minutes on the court.
Freshman forward Melissa Williams started for the Eagles, and led the team on the glass with 10 rebounds. She also had two assists, one block, while chipping in six points.
"Melissa played really well for us," complimented Schuller. "She was a monster on the glass. We are really excited about her and think she is going to be a special player."
The other three freshmen on Eastern's 2011-12 roster each contributed solid minutes as well. Kylie Huerta finished with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, and had three assists and one steal.
The Eagles will officially open their season next Friday (Nov. 11) against Corban at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time on Reese Court.