Feb. 15, 2007
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team (8-17, 3-9 Big Sky Conference) moved to within two games of the Portland State University Vikings (9-16, 5-7 BSC) for the sixth and final spot in the Big Sky Tournament with a dominating 80-61 victory on Thursday evening (Feb. 15). Both teams have four games remaining in their respective seasons.
The Eagles were bolstered by an outstanding 50.0 shooting percentage (31-of-62), their second-highest shooting performance of the season (Eastern shot 55.4 percent on 31-of-56 shooting in a 74-56 win over Sacramento State on Jan. 28).
The team as a whole made 10-of-16 three-point attempts (62.5 percent), its second-best shooting performance from beyond the arc in 2006-07 (the Eagles made 5-of-7 for 71.4 percent shooting in the Sac State game). Eastern also made 8-of-9 free throws tonight.
"We came out and really played together tonight," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "We had four kids with double digits in scoring, and I thought our defensive effort was outstanding.
"Sydney Benson really did a good job defensively against Kelsey Kahle (who entered the game third in the Big Sky in scoring with 18.2 points per game - she had 12 points tonight on 5-of-15 shooting)," Schuller said. "Nicole Scott spent some time on her tonight, too, but Benson had the majority of minutes against Kahle, and we just stuck to the scouting report and did a great job slowing her down tonight."
The Eagles' scoring output was led by Joanna Chadd, who nailed 7-of-10 shots (5-of-8 from three-point land) for 19 points. The point total was Chadd's highest since she scored 22 in an 84-66 home win over Portland on Dec. 31.
"We do pretty well when Joanna Chadd shoots like she did tonight, and it set the tone for the rest of the team," Schuller said.
Sydney Benson had her eighth double-double of the 2006-07 campaign, as she tallied 12 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
The other two double-digit scorers were Phynique Allen (15) and Scott (14).
Additionally, Huntington had a game-high six assists, while Tara Holgate led all players in blocks with three.
The Eagles responded to a Viking lay-up to start the game with nine straight tallies. After that, the teams battled to the break with five ties and a couple of lead changes before the final buzzer of the stanza.
After the teams returned from the locker room, Eastern Washington extended its four-point halftime edge (39-35) by immediately going on a 21-6 run for a commanding 60-41 lead with 11:43 remaining. The lead got as high as 21 a minute later (64-43) before the Eagles coasted to the finish. The closest Portland State got was 15 on three separate occasions.
The Eagles play next a week from tonight, taking on Idaho State (10-12, 6-4 BSC, with two games to play between now and then). Tip-off for the Feb. 22 game in Pocatello, Idaho, is 6:05 p.m. PT. Eastern Washington will conclude its road trip that weekend with a 2:05 p.m. game at Sacramento State (3-22, 1-10 BSC) two days later. Eastern will conclude its regular season with a pair of home contests the following weekend.