Nov. 21, 2007
The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team hits the hardwood this week in Honolulu, Hawaii, as the Eagles will take on Akron and Marist at the Oahu Classic. The games will take place on Thursday (Nov. 22) and Saturday (Nov. 24), respectively. Each contest begins at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. Eastern will be playing the two opponents for the first time in school history.
Eastern's first opposition this week, Akron, is 1-2 on the season with a win over Saint Louis and setbacks to Michigan and Cleveland State. Last year the Zips went 10-19, 3-13 in Mid-American Conference play.
"Akron's record does not indicate how good a basketball team they are," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "They've played tough opponents, are very talented at the guard spot and have athletic post players."
Meanwhile, the Red Foxes (4-1) are coming off an incredible NCAA Sweet 16 season, becoming the first team in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history to do so. Marist beat Ohio State and Middle Tennessee before falling to eventual national champion Tennessee in the tournament.
"Marist is a very talented basketball team," Schuller said. "They have good big players, good guards; they are very solid.
"But, it does not matter who we are playing. We need to take care of the little things, turn the ship a bit and get ourselves straight."
The Eagles opened the campaign with a 63-48 victory over Montana Tech, but then suffered a couple of tough losses to Nevada and Washington State. The Eagles shot 48.7 percent against Nevada (19-of-39), an average they surpassed just twice in 2006-07, but were burned by 31 Wolf Pack offensive rebounds. The biggest thing that hurt EWU against the Cougars was its 37.7 percent shooting (20-of-53), including just 18.8 percent on three-point shots (3-of-16).
"We were not happy with the way we played in either basketball game," Schuller said. "We just did not do the things we needed to in order to be successful."
The games also had an interesting correlation in how different they were. The Nevada contest saw exactly one lead change, while the Cougar game had numerous runs throughout the contest, including at the beginning of the contest when EWU ran out to a 13-0 lead but Washington State then scored the next 21 tallies. Eastern also had a 11-1 run while the Cougars put together a 17-2 spurt later in the contest.
What Shooting Performances
The Eagles had a pair of outstanding shooting performances in their first two games of the 2007-08 season. Against Montana Tech in the season-opening contest on Nov. 11, the Eagles shot 50.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc (10-of-20) and 91.7 percent from the free throw line (11-of-12).
Eastern Washington then shot 50.0 percent on three-point shots (4-of-8) against Nevada on Thursday (Nov. 15). Incredibly, that percentage has only been surpassed two previous times in the past three seasons.
Overall, the Eagles are shooting 38.6 percent on three-pointers (17-of-44) and 75.7 percent on free throws (53-of-70). Last year's squad set a school record by shooting 71.2 percent on free throws.
Kyla Evans had an incredible start to her collegiate career, as the freshman nailed eight of her first 10 three-point shots. She has since come back to earth a little, but is still shooting an outstanding 53.3 percent on shots from beyond the three-point arc (8-of-15). Her shooting percentage from the floor is 54.5 percent (12-of-22).
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 women's basketball page at WWW.GOEAGS.COM.
Quartet Signs with Eagles
Four players have signed letters of intent on Wednesday (Nov. 14) to attend Eastern Washington University and play for the women's basketball squad, head coach Wendy Schuller announced. The signees will begin their Eastern careers in 2008-09 after inking their names on the first day of the NCAA early signing period.
The new players include Pauline Ferrall, a 6-2 post from Carmel (Calif.) High School, Breauna Russell, a 5-6 guard from Washington H.S. in Phoenix, Ariz., Brianne Ryan, a 6-0 guard from Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash., and Meaghan White, a 6-2 forward from Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore.
"Just looking at the credentials of this class is very exciting," Schuller said. "We have added young ladies who are outstanding individuals, exceptional basketball players and winners. I am very pleased with the recruiting efforts of (associate head coach and recruiting coordinator) Tom Webb and our entire staff and team.
"We have assembled a class that will fit in well with our team and has the ability to help take us to the next level. I love the enthusiasm of this group and know they are great additions to our Eastern Washington women's basketball family."
54s are Wild
With Nov. 7'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.
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.
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:
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