Las Vegas, Nev. – The Eastern Washington women's basketball team was unable to overcome a nine-minute scoring drought spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second half, falling, 74-51, to Butler on Saturday, Nov. 30, as part of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout at the South Point Arena.
Sophomore Hayley Hodgins led the Eagles with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, finishing a perfect 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Junior Lexie Nelson registered 12 points, connecting on a pair of three-pointers.
Junior Melissa Williams grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with eight points.
"We faced a pair of high-quality opponents this weekend in Iowa State and Butler," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "These games are ones you hope pay off when Big Sky play comes around, knowing we've been in adverse situations against tough teams."
Butler (3-4) raced out to an early lead but buckets from Nelson and Hodgins kept Eastern (0-5) close in the early going. Down by six, 12-6, at the 15:59 mark, EWU reeled off a 13-4 run over the next three minutes thanks largely to two triples from Nelson and a three-pointer from Hodgins. Butler's Liz Stratman converted a lay-up with 11:54 on the clock to stop the Eagles' run.
The Bulldogs tied the score at 22-22 on an offensive put-back from Ashton Feldhaus before going up two after a lay-up from Daress McClung with 7:29 on the clock. Hodgins evened things at 24-24 a minute later, but Butler extended its lead to six, 32-26, on a jumper at the 4:11 mark. Buckets from freshman Marly Anderson and junior Kylie Huerta pulled Eastern to within two, 32-30, with 3:07 left, but the Bulldogs ended the first half on a 7-0 run to take a nine-point lead into the break.
BU continued its unanswered run into the second stanza, opening up a 23-point lead, 53-30, through the first six minutes. Williams broke the Eagles' scoring drought with a jumper at the 14:14 mark, but Eastern was unable to mount a comeback down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on for the win.
EWU shot 48 percent in the opening 20 minutes, converting at a 50-percent clip from three-point range. Unlike the first half, Eastern connected on just 33 percent of its shots in the second half, missing all five of its three-point attempts.
The Eagles committed an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers while the Bulldogs turned the ball over just 12 times. EWU hung with Butler on the boards, with each team grabbing 13 rebounds in the first half.
Stratman led all scorers with 25 points for the Bulldogs. McClung added 18 and five rebounds.
Eastern returns to the friendly confines of Reese Court next Friday, Dec. 6, opening a seven-game home stand with a game against Cal State Northridge. Tipoff time is set for 6 p.m.