Feb. 5, 2009
A furious rally from a 20-point deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining came up just short for the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team in a 74-67 road loss on Thursday evening (Feb. 5).
The Eagles had trailed the Big Sky Conference game 61-41 with 9:55 to play before storming back with a 15-0 run and then cutting the deficit to just two at 64-62 with 3:20 to play. If it had come to fruition, the comeback would have been one of the eight largest in NCAA Division I history (based on records entering the 2008-09 season).
Sacramento State (6-16, 4-5 BSC) initially put space between the teams with its own 15-0 run to end the first half to extend a 22-21 Hornets advantage with 5:18 left to 37-21 at the break. The Eagles (9-13, 4-5 BSC) would not get any closer than 13 until their incredible second-half surge.
The initial 15 minutes of the game were very close, as the largest lead attained by either squad was just four, 12-8 Eastern at the 12:22 mark.
"It was definitely a tale of two halves," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "Our first half just want not very good. We did not put it in the hole (EWU shot 28.6 percent in that stanza), and I did not feel we were very aggressive rebounding-wise.
"In the second half, we exchanged baskets for too long before finally getting a lot more aggressive and putting the ball in the hole better. We got it inside a lot after settling for a lot of jump shots in the first half. That was a huge part of us getting back in the game.
"But when you dig yourself a big hole like that, it is really hard to get over the hump. And give Sacramento State credit - they responded at critical moments and knocked their free throws down (with EWU down 70-67 with 19 seconds left, the Hornets made 4-of-4 from the charity stripe)."
Chene Cooper tied for two Eastern season-high statistical totals tonight with seven assists and four steals tonight. (Jessica Huntington also had seven helpers against Montana State on Jan. 29 and UNLV on Nov. 28, while Breauna Russell had four takeaways versus Portland on Dec. 15)
"Cooper did a real nice job getting us up and down the court and was a big part of getting us going on that run," Schuller said. "Both point guards (her and Huntington) played well tonight and took care of the ball."
Nicole Scott had a solid game from the floor, scoring 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and grabbing five rebounds. She and Pauline Ferrall contributed six points apiece to Eastern's 15-0 second-half run.
In that run, "we started pounding it inside, and our inside players did a really nice job finishing in the paint," Schuller said.
Amy Bratvold also scored in double digits tonight with 10 tallies for the first time since she had 13 against Eastern Oregon on Dec. 30. Julie Piper once again set the team pace in rebounding with eight. She has led the team in that category the last six contests and in 11-of-12 games.
The Eagles remain in a third-place tie in the Big Sky standings, now sharing that spot with Northern Colorado and Sacramento State.
The Eagles now head to Flagstaff, Ariz., to play Northern Arizona at 5:35 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday (Feb. 7). The Lumberjacks fell to 6-16, 3-6 in Big Sky play tonight following a 69-57 home loss to first-place Portland State.