Eagles Tip Off Season

Nov. 9, 2007

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The 2007-08 season gets underway on Sunday (Nov. 11) for the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team, as the Eagles take on Montana Tech at 2:05 p.m. that day.

The Eagles are coming off a 10-19 season and are determined to return to the Big Sky Conference Championship. Eastern Washington missed out on last year's tournament after qualifying for seven straight prior to then and advancing to the semifinals three times in that span.

Eastern went 1-1 in its two exhibition contests over the past week, losing to Northwest Sports 72-61 and rallying for a 61-56 victory over Central Washington.

On Friday (Nov. 1), the Eagles and Northwest Sports played an incredibly tight game, as evidenced by the 16 ties and 13 lead changes in the contest. For a 16-minute span from 4:40 left in the first half until 8:37 was remaining in the second, neither team would go up by more than three. Northwest Sports pulled away from a narrow 57-56 lead with four minutes left, using a 6-0 run to do so.

Eastern Washington and CWU played a game on Wednesday (Nov. 7) which went right down to the wire. Nicole Scott nailed a three-point shot with 35 seconds left to give Eastern a 57-54 lead, which it would not relinquish. Scott's basket was her first-ever three-point make in an Eagle uniform. That completed a clutch 9-0 run which brought Eastern back from 54-48 down with 2:56 left.

The Orediggers are 3-2 on the season and coming off a 16-13 season, a vast improvement on its 6-23 campaign the year before. Montana Tech is led by first-year head coach Kerie DePell.

Eastern Washington also opened its 2006-07 schedule against Montana Tech, outlasting the Orediggers 75-69 after breaking away from a 67-all tie with 2:02 remaining. Eastern has won each of the three all-time meetings between the schools. The Eagles won 75-31 on Dec. 6, 1979, and 72-50 on Dec. 2, 2000.


Eagles Picked Seventh

Eastern Washington was picked seventh in both the preseason coaches poll and in the preseason media poll. The polls were nearly identical from the top down:

• 1) Montana
• 2) Idaho State
• 3) Montana State
• 4) Weber State (coaches), Northern Arizona (media)
• 5) Northern Arizona (coaches), Weber State (media)
• 6) Portland State
• 7) Eastern Washington
• 8) Sacramento State
• 9) Northern Colorado


And the Honors Go To ...

Eastern Washington as a team was honored over the summer, being named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. It marked the sixth consecutive season the Eagles had ranked 10th or higher in the rankings. That span included a No. 1 ranking in 2003-04.


54s are Wild

With Wednesday night's exhibition game between Eastern Washington and Central Washington wrapping down, the score was tied 54-54 with 54 seconds left. Then Eastern's #54 player, Nicole Scott, nailed the first-three point shot she had ever made in an Eagle uniform to give the Eagles a 57-54 lead with 35 seconds left that they would not relinquish.


Kyla's Blog - Everyone's Reading It!

Freshman guard Kyla Evans has been writing a weekly blog on her life adjusting to her first year in college and as an NCAA Division I basketball player. New blogs are posted by Tuesday each week and may be accessed on the main women's basketball page.


Schuller Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Head coach Wendy Schuller looks back to Eastern's two exhibition games, a 72-61 loss to Northwest Sports and a 61-56 win over Central Washington.

"We got a lot out of our two exhibition games, which is the reason you play them - to take a look at personnel, at lineups," Schuller said. "We played two very good teams who challenged us and helped us see some things we know we need to improve on.

"The Central Washington game came down to the wire. We had to make some plays; they defended us well. It was really nice for us to be in a heated game like that this early in the year."

Next up for Eastern is Montana Tech, a team that the Eagles also opened last season's schedule with. Eastern Washington outlasted the Orediggers in that contest, 75-69.

"Montana Tech gave us a great game last year and we expect the same this year," Schuller said. "They have some really talented guards who are local kids and will have a chance to play in front of their families.

"I know they are going to come in and give us a handful. We are going to have to really defend and work hard at both ends of the floor. It's going to be a good match-up for us."


What Free Throw Shooting!

The Eagles as a team shot 71.2 percent from the charity stripe (400-of-562) last year to set a school record. Even more incredibly, Eastern Washington shot an amazing 79.5 percent from Jan. 13 through the end of the season (174-of-219), a span of 11 games. The Eagles as a team shot better than 80 percent from the free throw line seven times in that 11-game span after doing so just once in the previous 16 contests.

In the UNC game on Jan. 20, the Eagles made 19-of-20, narrowly missing tying the school record for free throw percentage (the Eagles hit 20-of-20 in a 62-56 win at Idaho on Jan. 27, 1984).

On Dec. 9 of that year the Eagles broke their school record for free throws made in a dramatic 103-102 overtime loss to Gonzaga, shooting 36-of-46 from the charity stripe.

The previous record of 35 made was set on Feb. 5, 2004, in an 80-75 Eagle win over Montana State. The school record of 48 attempts was also set in that contest.

The 36 made versus GU is also the fifth-highest total in Big Sky Conference history.

Individually, Katy Baker enters 2007-08 having made 23 consecutive free throws dating to Dec. 9, 2006. Sydney Benson will start the season having made 16 in a row.


Eagles Finish Fourth in Big Sky Attendance

Eastern Washington saw a high number of people attend games in 2006-07, as evidenced by its average attendance of 877, which placed the Eagles fourth among Big Sky Conference teams.

The two Montana schools paced the league, as Montana had drawn 3,965 per contest and Montana State averaged 1,244. Idaho State was third at 966. Following the Eagles were Weber State (801), Northern Arizona (528), Northern Colorado (367), Portland State (378) and Sacramento State (222).

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