Eagles Fall in Season Opener

Nov. 14, 2008

Final Stats

The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team played a tough road game to start the 2008-09 schedule on Friday (Nov. 14) and fell short of the host Nevada Wolf Pack by a 64-49 score. The game was the season opener for both teams.

The Eagles had control of the opening 10 minutes of the first stanza, while the Wolf Pack, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, gained an advantage in the closing 10 minutes of the initial half.

Julie Piper got Eastern’s first points of 2008-09 on the board with a jumper 1:12 into the contest. Although Nevada responded to take a 4-2 lead, a Piper free throw and a Kyla Evans three earned EWU the advantage right back. Its edge would reach as high as five at the 12:46 mark, 13-8.

After Amy Bratvold earned Eastern Washington a 19-18 edge with 8:19 to go, Nevada responded with a free throw and jumper to retake the lead. Unfortunately that one-point edge was Eastern’s last of the night.

The Wolf Pack went up by as many as nine in the first half, 32-23, with 2:18 to play, before the Eagles closed out the half on a 6-2 run with threes coming from Brianne Ryan and Evans. The teams entered the locker rooms with Nevada up 34-29.

Three minutes after the break, the Eagles cut their deficit to just two at 36-34 after a three from Evans and a jumper from Piper. Three minutes later, Evans once again nailed a trey to bring Eastern to within two at 42-40.

However, that would be the closest Eastern would get, as Nevada responded by going on an 8-0 run to put space between the teams and did not look back.

“At the 13-minute mark, we just couldn’t score like a lid had been put on the basket,” head coach Wendy Schuller said, as Eastern went more than five minutes between points during that 8-0 Nevada spurt (13:45-8:11 to be exact). “Prior to then, we did a nice job executing, but then got away from what we were doing for 30 minutes, taking what they gave us and being patient offensively and taking good shots.

“Nevada is an extremely athletic, experienced team who you have to be perfect against in terms of your execution and, for 10 minutes, we were not. That was the difference. As a whole, we played hard, got on the floor and battled hard against a good team on its home floor. It’s discouraging in that it is a loss, but we know we are climbing the ladder and that we have got a lot of rungs in front of us.”

Evans was on fire from long range tonight, making 5-of-8 from beyond the three-point line and scored 15 points.

Piper had 13 rebounds, setting a new career high for the sophomore (she had 11 against Northern Colorado on Jan. 17). The Roseburg, Ore., native also had 10 points in the game to record a double-double for the second time in her career (she also had 10 points in that game versus UNC on Jan. 17).

“Kyla knocked down big shots tonight, and Piper played extremely hard on both ends of the floor,” Schuller said.

Nicole Scott, returning to her home area (she went to high school in Carson City, 30 miles to the south), contributed a game-high two blocks and five rebounds, the second-highest total on the team, to Eastern Washington’s efforts.

The Eagles play its home opener at 7:05 p.m. next Friday (Nov. 21) against San Francisco. The Dons open their season at two-time defending national champion and sixth-ranked Tennessee on Saturday (Nov. 14) and host the San Francisco Academy of Art three days later before traveling to Cheney.

“That’s going to be special for us,” Schuller said of Eastern’s upcoming home opener. “We want to defend our home court and do everything we can to get a ‘W’ Friday night.”

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