December 3, 2013

@EWUWBB Opens Seven-Game Home Stand Friday Against Cal State Northridge

This Week In EWU Basketball

Cal State Northridge
Friday, Dec. 6 | 6 p.m.
Reese Court | Cheney, Wash.
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After spending the last two weeks on the road, the Eastern Washington women's basketball team kicks off a seven-game home stand this Friday, Dec. 6, when Cal State Northridge visits Reese Court. Tipoff time is set for 6 p.m. PST.

Eastern (0-5) is still looking for its first win after facing a grueling slate of high-quality opponents in its first five games. The Eagles spent last weekend at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev., squaring off with then-No. 23/15 Iowa State and Butler in a pair of contests. EWU was upended by the Cyclones, 88-60, on Friday, Nov. 29, before falling to the Bulldogs, 74-51, on Saturday. ISU was the second top-25 team Eastern has faced this season while Butler is a member of the newly-formed American Athletic Conference, made up of a handful of ranked squads.

The Eagles' first five opponents are a combined 25-8 to start the year. Iowa State is undefeated at 6-0 while Gonzaga (5-1) and SMU (7-1) have both suffered one loss apiece. Portland is 4-2 through six games, including a win over PAC-12 member Washington. Both Iowa State and Gonzaga earned spots in last season's NCAA Women's Basketball Championship while SMU and Butler received bids to the WNIT a year ago.

Eastern is shooting nearly 41 percent this season, a mark that ranks third in the Big Sky. The Eagles are the most accurate conference team from long range, shooting a league-best 34.7 percent from downtown while making 6.6 three-pointers per game.

Junior guard Lexie Nelson averaged 15 points in EWU's two games last weekend, setting a season high with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Iowa State. She made a career-best four three-pointers on just seven attempts versus the Cyclones, adding three rebounds and three assists to her impressive stat line. She followed that performance with a 12-point showing against Butler, burying a pair of triples. Nelson has made 14 three-pointers so far this season, needing just seven to crack the school's all-time top 10 list.

With the absence of senior center Laura Hughes, junior forward Melissa Williams turned in a pair of impressive performances last weekend, scoring a season-high 10 points against Iowa State before grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds versus Butler. She added eight points against the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Hayley Hodgins finished with 16 points against Butler, reaching double-figures for the third time this season and 12th time in her career. She shot 6-of-9 from the field versus the Bulldogs, making all three of her free throw attempts.

Cal State Northridge (2-5) is currently riding a three-game losing streak, having fallen to BYU, Santa Clara and Utah State in its last three outings. CSUN has faced fellow Big Sky members Sacramento State and Montana State so far this season, losing both games by an average of 17.5 points. The Matadors shoot at a 37.7-percent clip, making just 27.9 percent of their shots from three-point range. CSUN is averaging an impressive 17.3 offensive rebounds per game, and is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 3.3 boards per game. Cinnamon Lister (16.4 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Ashlee Guay (16.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg) are the Matadors' main offensive threats while Camille Mahlknecht (6.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg) is the team's defensive anchor.

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