November 16, 2012

Eastern Falls to Cal State Northridge 66-44

Offensive struggles continue for Eagles in loss to Matadors

The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team suffered its second-consecutive loss to start the 2012-13 season, falling to Cal State Northridge 66-44 on Thursday (Nov. 15) at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.

“I thought we played extremely hard, but we struggled offensively once again,” said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller.

Eastern shot 20 percent from the field in the first half and connected on just one of its 13 3-point attempts. The Eagles also committed 12 turnovers and were out-rebounded, 32-21.

“We had some good looks, but it was just a situation where we were not making the baskets presented to us,” said Schuller. “We knew they were going to pressure us defensively. Cal State Northridge is a really athletic team and they made it difficult for us.”

The Matadors field goal percentage wasn’t much better, as they converted 13-of-39 shots in the first half, but Northridge had 14 offensive rebounds and 12 second chance points to help maintain its lead.

After the Eagles took an early 4-2 advantage, Cal State Northridge went on a 17-5 run to take a 19-9 lead at the 9:28-mark. Eastern kept pace with CSUN for the next six minutes, exchanging buckets back and forth to make the score 28-18 with three minutes remaining in the first half.

After a Morganne Comstock layup cut the deficit to eight, the Matadors scored eight unanswered points to double their lead, making it 36-20 at halftime.

In the second period, Eastern cut the lead to 11 (42-31) at the 11-minute mark, but that would be the closest it got the rest of the game. Northridge ended the game on a 25-12 run to take their largest lead of the game with a final score of 66-44.

The Eagles improved their shooting in the second half, but not by enough, as they converted 8-of-26 shots. Eastern was able to find more success from the 3-point arc, draining three of eight from downtown in the second half.

The Matadors out-rebounded Eastern 51-46, and also added 10 steals and five blocks. Although its field-goal percentage wasn’t much better at 33.8 percent, Northridge used 18 second-chance points and added six more on fast breaks to maintain control of the game.

“I thought we did a much better job defensively in the second half, but their length and athleticism just gave them an advantage,” said Schuller. “They were able to box out more and get more second chance opportunities.”

Sophomore Lexie Nelson led the Eagles in scoring with 11 points and also had five rebounds. Junior Aubrey Ashenfelter added eight points and five rebounds of her own.

Sophomore Melissa Williams hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds to lead EWU on the glass, while senior Carrie Ojeda contribured nine boards. But Eastern's post players only combined for 10 points on the night.

“It’s hard to stay in games when you get into holes like we did and it’s definitely something we have to figure out. We have to find more ways to score,” said Schuller.

Eastern will be back at Reese Court on Sunday (Nov. 18) to face the Portland Pilots at 1:05 p.m.

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