Eagles Cannot Escape Hornets' Sting, Fall to Sac State

Feb. 7, 2008

Box Score

The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team once again kept a game close on Thursday night (Feb. 7), this time until the last three minutes, before its opponent pulled away. The visiting Sacramento State Hornets toppled the Eagles, 81-72, in a Big Sky Conference women's basketball game.

Jessica Huntington once again had a solid game, as she tallied seven assists on the night, marking the third time in the past three games she has had seven or more helpers, averaging 7.25 per game in that span. Huntington only had four turnovers tonight for a 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio.

She helped four Eagles attain double-digit point totals: Tatjana Sparavalo (16), Sydney Benson (15), Amy Bratvold (13) and Julie Piper (12). The leading rebounders for Eastern tonight were Piper and Sparavalo, who had six apiece.

"For the most part offensively we executed tonight," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "We got some really good shots and players stepped up and made plays."

Sacramento State (6-15, 4-5 BSC) took a nine-point advantage twice at around the 11-minute mark of the first half, 16-7 and 18-9, its largest of the contest. The Eagles (3-19, 0-9 BSC) then wore down the lead before a pair of Piper free throws with 57 seconds left tied the game at 36.

The Hornets followed that event with five straight points, spanning both halves, for a 41-36 advantage less than a minute into the second stanza. That would be its largest, though, for the next 10 minutes. Before that happened, though, a Sparavalo old-fashioned three-point play gave EWU its lone lead of the contest, 56-55, with 10:33 to play. Seven straight Hornet points, however, gave Sacramento State back the momentum in the game.

The game came down the stretch tight, as the visitors held a narrow 69-67 lead with 2:56 to play, but an 8-1 run gave the Hornets a commanding 77-68 advantage with 36 seconds to play.

"We just have to execute down the stretch," Schuller said. "We had three or four possessions where we got really good looks and came up dry. There were points in time when we could have cut it to two or tied it. We just have to get over the hump and learn how to finish down the stretch."

The Hornets were also helped tonight by their 90.9 percent shooting from the free throw line (30-of-33).

The Eagles will continue its brief two-game homestand with a 2:05 p.m. contest on Saturday (Feb. 9) versus Northern Arizona (7-15, 3-6 BSC). Eastern Washington will also join more than 800 universities across the country that day to raise breast cancer awareness. The WBCA's "Think Pink" initiative is a global, unified effort to raise breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.

Fans wearing pink on Saturday will get into the game for free, while those who do not will still receive 2-for-1 admission. Students, as always, are allowed admission free of charge with an EWU card. The Eagles will be wearing pink shoelaces, the Lumberjacks will have pink headbands, and the referees will be using pink whistles. Information about breast cancer awareness will also be available at the game.

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