December 30, 2008

Eagles Post Biggest Win in Two Years, Take Care of Eastern Oregon

Dec. 30, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team ended 2008 on a high note, defeating Eastern Oregon 72-46 on Tuesday evening (Dec. 30) in its final non-conference game of the 2008-09 season. The margin of victory was the team's largest since a 96-57 victory over Corban College on Nov. 17, 2006.

"The No. 1 thing we wanted to do tonight was have great effort, and we did," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "Defensively, we did a nice job contesting shots. On the offensive end, we did a nice job executing and recognizing when to attack in transition and when to run more of a transition offense."
 
The win not only snapped a three-game losing streak, but was Eastern's fifth victory of the season. After the Eagles (5-8) surpassed last year's win total (4-25) with the result tonight, the team is now looking ahead to the commencement of Big Sky Conference play this weekend, first versus Northern Arizona (3-10) at 7:05 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 2).

"Tonight was a good tune-up for us entering Big Sky play," Schuller said. "We know that, starting Friday, everybody is 0-0 and it's for real now. We have to play with the intensity we played with tonight and defend our home floor."

In this evening's contest, which served as an exhibition game for the visiting Mountaineers, the Eagles and Eastern Oregon battled tightly for the first 10 minutes. At that point, EWU pulled away from a narrow 18-17 edge with 10:56 showing on the clock with a dominating 14-1 run, going up 32-18 with 3:11 left before the break.

Eastern then extended its lead even further in the second half, which got to as high as 28 at 66-38 with 6:56 left. The Eagles held at least a 20-point advantage for the final 13 minutes of the game.

All 13 players on Eastern's roster saw at least eight minutes of playing time. Kyla Evans led the balanced scoring effort with 16 points, while Amy Bratvold had 13 tallies and Pauline Ferrall contributed 12 points. Julie Piper set the pace in rebounding with 11 tonight.

Also, Jessica Huntington contributed four of Eastern's 17 assists, Piper blocked a pair of shots, and Ferrall had two of the team's eight steals in the contest.

The Eagles out-rebounded the Mountaineers 49-36 and also impressively recorded an offensive rebound on exactly half of their missed shots (22 of 44).

"We did a great job on the offensive glass," Schuller said. "That was something we talked about before the game, that we wanted to really go hard on the glass."

After Eastern's home game with NAU on Friday, the Eagles play host to Sacramento State on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 4) at 2:05. The Hornets fell to UTEP tonight 67-49 to drop to 2-11 on the season. They will play at Portland State on Friday before making the trip north to Cheney.

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