Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eagle Women can ball too, EWU dominates PSU 77-63, secure Dam Cup Trophy

Melissa Williams earned a double double in a win at Portland State
photo from EWU Athletics on instagram
Starting with last week's win over Montana State, I'll be highlighting at least one game a week for the Eagle Women's Basketball team.  I'll be working to get more coverage for them as we go along as well.  This week I took a look at the Eagle's 77-64 victory at Portland State.

Head Coach Wendy Schuller's team now sits in third place in the Big Sky standings, just 1.5 games behind leader Montana who they will face off against in Montana on February 28th.  The Eagle's secured this year's Dam Cup trophy with the win as well.

Melissa Williams led the Eagles with 20 points and 10 rebounds for her 4th double double of conference play and 8th of the season.  She added 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 26 minutes.

Jade Redmon and Lexie Nelson both scored 13 points each.  Redmon added 5 rebounds 3 assists and 1 steal in 24 minutes.  Nelson added 4 assists and 2 rebounds in 30 minutes.  Haley Hodgins scored 11 points with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in 30 minutes.  Delaney Hodgins added 2 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in 25 minutes.  That completed the 135 minutes of 200 possible for Eastern's starters.

In a game in which they led by 21 less than 13 minutes into the game and by 30 with about 7 minutes to go, Coach Schuller was able to use her bench liberally.  Marly Anderson led the Eagle bench with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 14 minutes.  Kiana Brown did a little bit of everything with 2 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 18 minutes, she also fouled out late accruing 5 fouls in a very short period of time as Portland State sought to aggressively push the ball down court late.  Tisha Phillips scored 4 points and added 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 15 minutes.  CeCe Pearl finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds in 10 minutes.  Mariah Cunningham got 2 points and 2 rebounds in 6 minutes and Haley Shaner got on the court for a couple of minutes late but didn't accrue any stats.

The Eagles built their lead quickly with swarming, tough defense and efficient sound offense.  For most of the game the Vikings offense sought to slide the ball around the perimeter looking for an opportunity to pass it into the low post on either side, later they tried driving down to the mid / high post for shots.  Neither tactic worked well until late when the Eagles fouled too much, the Vikings score 12 of their final 22 points at the charity stripe.  On offense the Eagles spread Portland State out and attacked the pain with dribble penetration, then they passed the ball off as soon as the dribble was stopped.  More often than not the pass went to an open shooter and resulted in Eagle points.  Eastern's offense forced Portland State to defend the entire half court and took advantage of missing help on defense perfectly.

Portland State was simply over-matched in this contest but they played hard for all 40 minutes to make the game score closer than it could have been.  The Vikings were led by Mikaela Rivard with 22 points.  Their home crowd got pretty loud when reserve forward and Viking volleyball player Katie O'Brien entered the court late in the second half.  O'Brien finished with 2 points, 1 rebound and 2 steals in 4 minutes.

The Eagles out rebounded the Vikings 41 to 34 and also won the turnover battle 10 to 16.  Up next for Eastern a pair of home games against Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.  The Eagles are currently 8-4 in conference and are on a 4 game winning streak.

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