November 2, 2008

Eagles Defeat Central in Exhibition Opener

Nov. 2, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team outlasted Central Washington in an exhibition game on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 2) by a 67-65 score. The Eagles had a couple of clutch free throws from Julie Piper with eight seconds left to earn EWU a four-point advantage and essentially ice the game.

Central Washington, however, utilized an incredible hot streak in the middle of the first half, going from the 14:17 to the 7:08 marks a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor. That run allowed Central to reverse a 15-7 EWU lead, Eastern’s largest of the game, into a 27-20 Central advantage. Two Jessica Huntington free throws cut the Eastern deficit to 27-22 immediately before CWU’s missed shot at 7:08.

The Wildcats then extended their lead in the second half to a game-high 12 on two occasions, 43-31 with 17:47 left and 47-35 with 15:31 remaining. After the latter 12-point deficit, the Eagles stormed back with an 11-2 run to trail 49-46. Six of those 11 points came on threes from Kyla Evans and Huntington.

Central Washington kept the Eagles just at bay for the next nine minutes with its lead ranging from 2-6 points in that time span. Then a Piper jumper at 3:35 and a Huntington lay-up at 2:22 earned the Eagles their first lead, 61-60, since the 11:24 mark of the first half (20-19).

In addition to her clutch free throws with eight seconds left, Piper also had a big lay-up with 1:18 showing on the clock to give Eastern a 64-60 advantage at that point. In fact, she scored seven of Eastern’s final 10 points of the contest

For the game, Piper shot at a sizzling 85.7 percent clip from the floor (6-of-7) and 70.0 percent from the free throw line (7-of-10) and tallied a team-high 19 points in the contest.

Huntington also shot really well, nailing 80.0 percent of her shots (4-of-5) and scoring 13 points to go with a game-high four steals. Evans was Eastern’s other double-digit point scorer, as she had 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

Pauline Ferrall led EWU in rebounding with a game-high 10 today in the freshman’s first game in an Eagle uniform. She also had two blocks in the contest. Nicole Scott played impressively on the defensive end, as well, as she had three blocks and three steals today.

“I was really proud of how we played, especially in the second half,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “The team responded to some of the things we talked about at halftime really well, including shot selection and being the aggressor, playing hard. We also had a lot of young players on the floor today, and they did well.

“Last year we struggled late in games getting shots and finding a way to win, and today we made some strides, getting defensive stops when we needed and then getting the ball in the basket. We were down 12 and fought and chipped away at it and kept coming, a good step for our team.”

The Eagles play their second and final exhibition game of the season at 7:05 p.m. on Nov. 10 against Warner Pacific. The Knights have already started its regular-season slate and sits at 1-1 after falling at Lewis-Clark State 69-36 in its season opener and then defeating Simpson 78-73 at home. Those contests took place on Thursday (Oct. 30) and Saturday (Nov. 1), respectively.

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