Eagles Falter in Second Half, Drop Big Sky Opener

Jan. 3, 2008

The Eastern Washington University women's basketball used a solid shooting performance in the first half (45.7 percent) to trail by just two to Northern Arizona on Thursday night (Jan. 3), but could not keep up that performance after the break and fell to the Lumberjacks in a Big Sky Conference game, 82-70.

Unfortunately for Eastern, the second half saw the Eagles shoot 33.3 percent from the floor, while NAU sizzled the twine with a 47.5 percent shooting performance in that stanza. The host Lumberjacks outscored EWU by 10 in the second half, 41-31, to pull away for its win.

"I'm extremely disappointed with our performance tonight, particularly on the defensive end," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "In particular, we are giving up more uncontested shots than any team I have ever been a part of, and we need to do a better job at that."

Even though the Lumberjacks (5-9, 1-0 BSC) jumped out to 7-0 and 16-7 leads, the Eagles kept their deficit to single digits throughout the half before going on a 9-1 run late in the first half to earn its first tie of the contest at 39-39. A pair of NAU free throws gave the Lumberjacks their two-point halftime advantage.

The Eagles (3-11, 0-1 BSC) kept close throughout the majority of the second half, trailing by just three at 64-61 with 8:36 remaining, but an 8-2 NAU run gave the Lumberjacks some breathing room on its way to the win.

Sydney Benson was Eastern's leading point scorer tonight, as she tallied 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting (plus 7-of-9 from the charity stripe). Meanwhile, Tatjana Sparavalo tallied 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting (2-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc), while Nicole Scott contributed 14 points on the night (6-of-13 from the floor).

Benson set the Eagle pace in rebounds as well with seven, while Scott had six tonight. Jessica Huntington contributed five assists to the Eagle cause, while Julie Piper had a pair of steals in the contest.

The Eagles will continue their two-game road trip with a 2:05 p.m. contest on Saturday (Jan. 5) versus Sacramento State (2-11, 0-1 BSC). Eastern will play its first home contest of the league season next Thursday (Jan. 10) at 7:05 p.m. against defending Big Sky champion Idaho State (9-4, 1-0 BSC).

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