Idaho sinks Eastern on controversial buzzer beater

In a heartbreaking finish at Reese Court on Monday afternoon (Feb. 18), the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team fell to Idaho by a final score of 75-74.

The Eagles trailed 72-69 with 18 seconds remaining when Uriah Howard drained a three-pointer to tie the game, 72-72. With two seconds left, Brittany Klaman fed Grace Kirscher an inbound pass and she made the layup, giving Eastern a 74-72 lead with 1.6 seconds to go.

As time expired and on the inbound pass, Idaho’s Lizzy Klinker found teammate Mikayla Ferenz down court and she turned and made the three-pointer in transition as the backboard lit up and the clock hit zeo. Upon official review by the referees, Idaho was rewarded the three-pointer and the game was finished, giving the Vandals a 75-74 victory.

“I’m really proud of our team and their execution, especially in the last minute. They were doing everything that we asked them to do and better. It was a great basketball game, but that was the hardest way to lose,” said head coach Wendy Schuller . “I thought the call would stay in our favor because timing wise, it didn’t seem like enough to get an inbound pass in and then to catch it, turn and shoot, but it was. Idaho deserves a ton of credit, it was great execution and a great shot.”

The Eagles had three in double figures, led by Kirscher who had 19 points. Violet Kapri Morrow turned in her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Uriah Howard was the third Eagle in double digits with 13 points and was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range.

Eastern shot over 42% in each quarter, making 27 of its 59 shot attempts with nine three-pointers. They were also an unblemished 11-for-11 at the free throw line.

Idaho used an 8-0 run to take an early 10-4 lead as the Eagles fell scoreless for nearly three minutes. Howard snapped the scoring drought with back-to-back three-point field goals to put Eastern within one point, 13-12. Despite the Eagles shooting 46.7 percent in the first quarter, they trailed by just two after the first 10 minutes, 18-16.

The Vandals opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run, but Kirscher went on an 8-0 run all by herself to give the Eagles their first lead since the start of the game, 24-23. Idaho would outscore the Eagles 20 to 16 in the second quarter en route to a 38-32 lead at the half.

Unable to make a field goal for nearly half of the third quarter, the Eagles relied heavily on their solid free throw shooting and found themselves in a 41-41 tie midway through. Despite shooting 45.5 percent from the field, the Eagles trailed 57-49 after three.

Idaho built its biggest lead of the entire game of nine points during the fourth, 61-52, when the Eagles used an 8-0 run to tie it following an Alissa Sealby three-pointer. The fourth quarter was chippy with both sides trading basket for basket. It was the Eagles that outscored the Vandals 25-18 in the fourth quarter on 47.4 percent from the field, but the final second didn’t fall EWU’s way in the 75-74 defeat.