Four Eagles score in double figures in a 79-75 win over Portland State

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 picked up a well-earned victory over Portland State at Reese Court this afternoon (Feb. 15) by a score of 79-75.

Four Eagles scored in double figures, led by Jenna Dick’s 19 points. Jessica McDowell-White (17 points, 13 assists) and Bella Cravens (18 points, 15 rebounds) each picked up double-doubles while Grace Kirscher rounded out the scoring with 16 points. The Eagles shot 51.9 percent from the field with 12 three-pointers in the win, while also out-rebounding the Vikings 36-to-24.

“This was a long time coming. Our players have been showing up every day with a great attitude and have really stayed together as a team. When times are tough and you can stay together and not crumble apart, that says a lot about the individuals that are involved. For us as coaches, that makes it easy for us to show up to practice every day and keep working hard with them because they’re soaking up everything we ask,” said head coach Wendy Schuller. “Today was the fruition of a lot of labor and a lot of time and energy. More than anything, it lets us know that we can win basketball games. We have a lot of talent and the confidence and belief that you can finish is so critical. So for us, just to know that about ourselves was really huge.”

Both teams connected early in the first quarter, with Eastern making seven of their first 10 shot attempts. Grace Kirscher scored seven points in the first four minutes of the closely contested first quarter that saw five ties and three lead changes. It was Portland State who found momentum first, using a 14-2 run to take a 30-20 lead. Jenna Dick would stop the run with a three-pointer with less than a minute left as the Eagles trailed 30-23 after one quarter of play.

The Eagles came out in the second quarter and used a 9-4 run to cut their deficit to 34-32. After both teams fell scoreless for nearly three and a half minutes, a PSU three snapped the lull as they built a 43-37 lead. From there, Jessica McDowell-White drained a three-pointer that sparked an 11-0 run for the Eagles and the 48-43 lead at the half.

Eastern Washington emerged from the locker room and picked up right where they left off, scoring four-straight points to span the run to 15 unanswered points. Portland State would answer back quickly, rattling off a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-53. Another 6-0 run by the Vikings closed the quarter, but the Eagles were still holding on to a 64-59 lead heading into the fourth.

Despite being held without a field goal for over three and a half minutes in the fourth quarter, Eastern Washington was able to pull away by as many as nine points. Portland State narrowly out-scored the Eagles in the fourth quarter, 16-15, and cut the lead to 78-75 with 25 seconds left. Kirscher headed to the line and sunk a free throw with 19 seconds left and the Eagles held on for the 79-75 victory.

WIN-LOSS RECORDS: The win snaps a 12-game losing streak for the Eagles, who improve to 3-20 overall and 2-12 in Big Sky Conference play. It also snaps a five-game losing streak to the Vikings, who fall to 12-12 with a 6-8 mark in league action.

Eastern Washington improves to 22-9 all-time over Portland State at Reese Court.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Jenna Dick was 6-for-8 from three-point range to lead the Eagles with 19 points. She now has 56 career three pointers in her freshman campaign, setting a new EWU record for most three-pointers scored by a freshman – beating the record of 54 that was set last year by both Jessica McDowell-White and Grace Kirscher. She also added three assists in today’s win.

Bella Cravens had a monster game on the boards, tying her career-highs in both rebounds (15) and points (18) for her fourth double-double of the season and her fourth-straight game in double figures. She also dished a career-high four assists to go with three blocks and a steal.

Jessica McDowell-White turned in her third double-double of the season, scoring 17 points with a career-high 13 assists. The 13 assists ties for fifth all-time in EWU history for assists in a single game and is the most by an Eagle in one game since Jan. 22, 2011. The sophomore was 6-10 from the field, 3-5 from three-point range and 2-2 from the free throw line.

Grace Kirscher scored 16 points and led the team with two steals. Kennedy Dickie added seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and also had two steals.

KEY STATISTICS: Eastern Washington shot 51.9 percent from the field (28-54), 57.1 percent from three-point range (12-21) and 68.8 percent at the free throw line (11-16).

Portland State was held to 46.3 percent from the field (25-54), 46.9 percent from behind the arc (15-32) and were 10-for 12 at the charity stripe.

Eastern Washington out-rebounded the Vikings 36-to-24, holding PSU to just eight offensive rebounds to their 14. Twenty-four of Eastern’s 28 field goals were assisted for a new season-high.

The Eagles also outscored the Vikings in the paint, 22-to-12 with 13 second chance points and forced 15 turnovers while committing 18.

UP NEXT: The second-to-last Big Sky road trip of the year takes the Eagles to Sacramento State (Feb. 20) and Northern Arizona (Feb. 22). Eastern Washington returns for its final home stand of the season on Feb. 27 against Southern Utah and Feb. 29 against Northern Colorado.