Eagles come up short against Northern Colorado

Eastern Washington will not play Florida Sept. 5 after the SEC goes conference-only
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Eastern Washington Eastern Washington will not play Florida Sept. 5 after the SEC goes conference-only

CHENEY, Wash. —  The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team hosted Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 29) at Reese Court for the final home game of the season. The Eagles led by 10 points at the half, but were unable to pick up the victory and fell by a score of 67-61.

Prior to tip-off, Eastern Washington honored lone senior Leya DePriest, who got the start and scored a season-high 10 points. Jessica McDowell-White (17) and Jenna Dick (11) were the other two Eagles in double figures, while Bella Cravens added 11 rebounds and eight points.

“I thought we played a really good first half. We did a great job with our game plan in terms of what we were willing to give up offensively. Defensively, we also did the things we wanted to do. I thought we were pretty good on the glass in the first half which we thought was a key in this game along with points in the paint, and offensive rebounds contribute to points in the paint,” said head coach Wendy Schuller. “We weren’t able to do those things in the second half and it put us in too much of a hole that we weren’t able to get out of.”

Eastern Washington used a 7-0 run behind four points from DePriest to take a 7-3 lead over the Bears in the early goings. The first quarter alone saw four ties and three lead changes, but it was the Eagles who closed the period on a 6-0 run to lead 17-14. Eastern shot 53.3 percent from the field in the first quarter while holding the Bears to 37.5 percent.

The Eagles came out and went 5-for-5 from the field, using a 10-0 run to pull ahead by 13 points, the largest of the day, to lead 29-16. After both teams fell scoreless for over three minutes, the Bears hit a corner three to cut their deficit back down to single digits, 29-20. Dick immediately responded with a three-pointer down on the other end to extend EWU’s advantage to 32-20. At the half, Eastern Washington led 32-22 after shooting 50 percent from the field.

Northern Colorado picked up the pace in the second half and cut the lead to three points, 37-34. The Eagles stayed in control with a 42-36 edge, but the Bears hit back-to-back three-pointers in 32 seconds to tie the game. A 7-0 run for Northern Colorado helped them pull ahead 51-46 and the Bears never looked back, outscoring the Eagles 30-18 in the third to lead 52-50.

Eastern Washington was only outscored 15-11 in the fourth quarter and were able to cut the deficit to 63-59 with 21.7 seconds remaining following two free throws from Bella Cravens. However, the Eagles were 0-for-5 from the field to start the fourth quarter and the Bears were able to score nine unanswered points to seal the 65-61 victory.

WIN-LOSS RECORDS: With the loss, Eastern Washington drops to 4-23 overall and 3-15 in Big Sky Conference play. Northern Colorado improves to 12-16 and 8-10.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Jessica McDowell-White led the Eagles with 17 points on 7-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from three-point range. She also added five rebounds and four assists.

Jenna Dick followed with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and 3-for-6 from deep. She also had two rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Leya DePriest added a season-high 10 points on 5-for-8 from the field while pulling down four rebounds and leading the team with two blocks. She also added an assist and a steal in her final game at Reese Court.

Bella Cravens was two-points short of her third-straight double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line and dished three assists to go with a block.

Grace Kirscher also scored eight points while leading the team with four assists.

KEY STATISTICS: The Eagles were 23-for-51 (45.1%) from the field and made seven of their 16 three-point attempts (43.8%). They were also an unblemished 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

Both teams were even with 33 rebounds each. The Eagles ran into turnover trouble, committing 17 while the Bears only had six.

Northern Colorado shot 41 percent (25-61) from the field, 36 percent (9-25) from three-point range, and 53.3 percent (8-15) from the charity stripe.

UP NEXT: The Eagles head out on their final road trip of the 2019-20 season to begin the month of March. Eastern plays at Idaho State on Wednesday, March 4 at 6 p.m. Pacific time. EWU closes the regular season at Weber State on Friday, March 6 where they’ll go for the season sweep of the Wildcats at 6 p.m. PT.

From there, Eastern Washington will head straight to Boise, Idaho for the 2019-20 Big Sky Conference Championships. The tournament runs from March 9-13 at CenturyLink Arena. For more information on the championships, click HERE.