February 22, 2007

Eagles Fall in Heartbreaker at Idaho State, 83-80

Feb. 22, 2007

Final Stats

If the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team is going to miss the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the first time since the 1998-99 season, the Eagles showed tonight on the road against Idaho State University that they are not going to go down without fighting furiously for their playoff lives.

Even down 10 with 27 seconds left, Eastern Washington (8-18, 3-10 BSC) kept battling, looking for any way to get back into the game. With 16 ticks remaining, a three-point basket by Brittney Osborn cut the deficit to seven, and a couple of ISU (12-13, 8-5 BSC) free throws one second later moved it back up to nine.

At that moment, Jessica Huntington took over, nailing a three with eight seconds left, stealing the inbounds pass and making a lay-up while being fouled. After she made the ensuing free throw, a missed lay-up by Idaho State allowed EWU to get the ball back when the shot went out of bounds after hitting the rim. Unfortunately for Eastern Washington, a cross-court pass with 1.3 seconds left went out of bounds and the Bengals proceeded to run out the clock to escape with the narrow win.

The Eagles played very well in the first half and took control of the contest, as the team headed to the locker rooms with a 10-point edge, 40-30. The lead got as high as 13 when a pair of Osborn free throws earned EWU a 21-8 advantage. Eastern Washington also had 12-point leads on six separate occasions and held the lead from tip-off to the final buzzer of the opening stanza.

The majority of the second half was a completely different story, however, as Idaho State stormed out of the gates and Eastern was unable to sustain its performance from the opening half. Less than eight minutes into the second stanza, the Bengals had completely turned around the score and took a 53-46 advantage on the strength of a 23-6 run to start the half. After ISU had quickly tied the score for the first time, 44-44, exactly four minutes into the half, Eastern was never able to regain its lead.

The Eagles showed a sign of things to come when, with 7:45 remaining and down, 65-51, nine straight Eastern points in 1:40 moved EWU to within five, 65-60. Idaho State did respond to that run by going on a 10-4 run of its own to go up, 75-64.

The Eagles had a pair of players put up 18-point performances in Phynique Allen and Osborn. Also in double figures for the Eagles was Huntington, as the freshman tallied 10 points (six of those in the last eight seconds). Allen also led the team in assists and steals with four apiece. Sydney Benson led the squad in blocks with a pair.

The loss put a huge hamper into Eastern Washington's playoff hopes, as sixth-place Portland State was able to earn a 76-65 win at Sacramento State tonight to move the Eagles to three games behind the Vikings (10-16, 6-7 BSC) with three to play for the sixth and final spot into the Big Sky Tournament.

Eastern plays its final road game of the regular season at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 24) versus Sacramento State (3-24, 1-12 BSC). The Eagles return home to conclude regular-season play with games the following week on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

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