Eastern Beats Central in Dramatic Exhibition Contest
Nov. 7, 2007
A clutch three-point shot by Nicole Scott proved to be the winning margin in Eastern Washington University's victory over Central Washington, 61-56, in a women's basketball exhibition game on Wednesday (Nov. 7). The three-point shot was the first made by the sophomore in an Eastern uniform and completed a clutch 9-0 run by the Eagles.
After Scott nailed her three with 35 seconds left to give Eastern a 57-54 lead, Katy Baker put the win away with four made free throws in the last nine seconds.
Prior to Scott's shot, Sydney Benson showed some flair for the dramatics herself. After a CWU three-point shot had given the Wildcats a 54-48 advantage with 2:56 left, the Eagles started battling back. After a Jessica Huntington lay-up pulled Eastern to within four, Benson rimmed in a long jumper to close the deficit to two. Her shot hit both sides of the rim repeatedly and nearly dropped off before reversing direction and falling in.
"We stepped up and increased our intensity level and got some big stops going hard to the glass," head coach Wendy Schuller said of Eastern's play down the stretch. "We did some of the things we needed to do late in the game. We just have to play with that intensity for 40 minutes."
Central Washington had control in the first half, allowing the Eagles to attain the lead just once, at 19-18. That half was sloppily played, as the teams combined to shoot 19-of-58 (32.8 percent) and turned the ball over 29 times.
"I felt bad for the people watching in the first half, but I was glad we were able to get it together for the second half," Schuller said.
EWU came out strong in the second half, going on an 8-2 run out of the locker room to take a 31-25 lead. Central Washington rallied from a 33-27 deficit with two straight threes to tie the contest at 33 with 13:47 left. After a three gave Central a 41-40 lead, it did not relinquish that advantage until Scott's basket.
"Central has got a good team," Schuller said. "He (head coach Jeff Whitney) gets them to play very hard. They are real good defensively, and they got after us tonight."
Benson was lights out from the floor tonight, hitting on 7-of-9 shots to help the Eagles to 47.2 percent shooting (25-of-53). Scott also shot at a high level tonight, as she nailed 8-of-16 attempts, while Huntington made 4-of-6 shots. Eastern held the Wildcats to a 33.3 percent shooting average (19-of-57).
Scott was the scoring leader of tonight's game, as she tallied 17 points. Benson had 14, while Baker scored 10 points. Huntington was the team leader in assists with six, while Baker set the team pace in steals with three.
"We're now 0-0," Schuller said. "We've got some things to work on to be ready for Sunday's game."
Eastern Washington will begin its 2007-08 regular season at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 11) against Montana Tech. The Orediggers (3-2) are coming off a 104-51 victory over Walla Walla.