Jan. 26, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team had a monumental task in front of it on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 26), a road contest versus top-of-the-league Portland State (15-4, 5-1 Big Sky Conference). The Eagles, however, showed they were up to the challenge by staying within six deep into the second half before the Vikings pulled away for a 77-56 win.
The first half of today's contest saw the Vikings pull out to a 10-point edge midway through the stanza (17-7 with 12:08 showing on the clock) before Eastern rallied late, utilizing a 7-0 run to pull to within one at 27-26 with 2:58 remaining. A Julie Piper jumper with 58 seconds left tied the game at 30 apiece, while a jumper by Nicole Scott 34 seconds later tied the game, 32-32. A Portland State three-point shot earned the Vikings a 35-32 edge going into the break.
The first several minutes of the second half saw Eastern Washington stay within six points or fewer, and a Piper basket cut the Eagle deficit to 44-41 with 14:41 left. Then, with just over seven minutes to play and the Eagles trailing by a 58-52 score, Portland State scored the next 14 points to pull away.
"The last seven minutes, they went into a basic 2-3 zone, and we did not do a good job attacking it and taking good care of the basketball, and they took advantage of that situation," Schuller said. "I was very pleased with our effort for 33 minutes; we played really well. Portland State is a good basketball team, and I am disappointed the final score wasn't a true reflection of the way we played. We just have to find a way to finish things strong and learn how to win again."
In the contest, three Eagles (3-16, 0-6 BSC) had three players with double-digit point totals, led by Sydney Benson, who hit on 6-of-9 attempts from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line for 16 points. Amy Bratvold contributed 15 points, while Piper had 10 tallies. Benson and Piper tied for the team rebounding edge with eight apiece, while Benson had four steals today.
Jessica Huntington posted the highest assist total attained by an Eagle with 10. The last time an Eagle reached double digits in assists came on Jan. 25, 2003, when Michelle Demetruk had 11 against Portland State.
"Jess really stepped up and played aggressively today," Schuller said. "I was very pleased with her effort."
The Eagles now look ahead to finishing off a stretch of nine road games in 11 contests spanning Dec. 16-Feb. 6. Eastern plays away contests with Montana State (8-10, 3-3 BSC) and Montana (14-4, 4-1 BSC with two games to play before meeting the Eagles) on Thursday (Jan. 31) and Saturday (Feb. 2), respectively. Both contests will tip off at 6:05 p.m. Pacific Time.