Eagles Rally in Second Half, Fall Short of Pilots

Dec. 15, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team played a much-improved second half versus Portland on Monday evening (Dec. 15), but it was unfortunately not enough for the host Eagles to rally from its 14-point halftime deficit.

Eastern Washington got into its hole when the team shot just 29.0 percent from the floor in the initial stanza (9-of-31), and the Pilots made 59.3 percent of their attempts (16-of-27). After the break, the Eagles rallied to convert on 44.8 percent of their shots (13-of-29) and held Portland to a paltry 24.2 percent clip (8-of-33).

"I was disappointed in our first half effort," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "We did not come out and play with the intensity we need to play with. I thought on the defensive end, we were lackadaisical and just did not play as hard as we are capable of.

"I thought we did a good job coming out for the second half and playing with a lot more desire and intensity, especially on the defensive end, but also offensively. I am glad the players kept fighting and were resilient, but we cannot put ourselves into a position like we did tonight."

After trailing 44-28 with 36 seconds elapsed following the break, the Eagles went on an outstanding 21-6 run to close to within a single tally at 50-49 on a Pauline Ferrall jumper with 9:52 to play. Included in that spurt were nine straight points for Eastern, closing out the run.

During that time span, Eastern (4-6) made 8-of-16 shots (50.0 percent) and held the Pilots to 11.8 percent shooting (2-of-17). In fact, Portland was held without a field goal for more than eight minutes, from 16:16 to 8:07 (0-of-13).

After the Pilots (4-6) built its lead back up to 11 with just 3:29 left at 65-54, the Eagles did rally to cut it to just three at 67-64 with 45 seconds left when Nicole Scott nailed a three. Unfortunately, Eastern could get no closer down the stretch, as Portland converted all four of its free throws the rest of the way.

Three Eagles contributed double-digit point totals tonight: Kyla Evans (12), Tatjana Sparavalo (11) and Scott (10). Evans also set the Eagle pace in both rebounding (8) and assists (5). Breauna Russell had four steals in the contest, the most by an Eagle so far this season.

Eastern now heads to the Golden State and will play Cal Poly at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 20) before meeting Cal State Northridge two days later. The Mustangs are 5-4 and play at Illinois-Chicago on Thursday (Dec. 18) prior to hosting the Eagles.

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