Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eastern Women run away from Montana State to complete first ever 4 game sweep of Montana schools

This week, at the prompting of my sister, Spokane Police Officer Erin Blessing, to watch the most recent game of the Eastern Washington Women's Basketball team.  I got a chance to watch their game against Montana State and have to say it was a lot of fun.  I decided to write up a game review for you all and hope that you also take advantage of the opportunity to go out and watch these young Eagle women play some great basketball.

Led by an outstanding performance from Sophomore Point Guard Jade Redmon, the Eagle women absolutely ran away from Montana State in the second half to complete the schools first ever 4 game sweep of Montana and Montana State in men and women's basketball.

The game was a brutal back and forth battle in the first half, featuring 9 lead changes and several ties. Montana State hit 50% of their 22 first half shots to give them a 28-27 lead at the break.

Despite the high shooting percentage, it was the Eagle defense that kept them in the game in the first half. The Bobcats managed just 22 shot attempts to the Eagles 34 in the first half.  The Eagle defense accomplished this by consistently swarming to help whenever the ball got pushed into the paint, holding MSU to just 2 offensive rebounds in the half, forcing 9 turnovers and racking up 4 steals and 3 blocks in the half.  The defense was notable to me for their seamless transitions in man-man coverage off of picks and screens as well as fantastic help defense.

Offensively the Eagles were plagued in the first half with good shots just not falling.  They managed to hit just 12 of 34 first half shots, despite playing great offensive ball.  Head Coach Wendy Schuller guided the team to a precision attack that featured a lot of ball movement and very few times settled for bad looks.

The Eagles trailed at the half, but their sound basketball along with just a couple of personnel assignment switches helped them turn the tide in the second half. The adjustments, were very subtle indeed because as Coach Schuller said, "We're too good of a [team] not to be better in the second half.  And that's pretty much what we did."

Eastern pulled away in the second half by hitting 53.8% of their second half shots and holding the Bobcats to just 35% from the field.  It was a very physical game, the teams combined for 34 personal fouls and 50 free throw attempts.  The 72-58 victory improved their record to 6-4 in Big Sky Play and leaves them just 2.5 games behind league leader Montana (9-2) with one extra game still to play.  The Eagles will head to Sacramento State tonight for a chance to move up to 3rd in the standings with a win.

Jade Redmon led the Eagles with 22 points, Lindsay Stockton from MSU also had 22 points, in just 30 minutes.  Redmon was limited some by foul trouble, but also added 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.  She not only filled the basket all night, she also scored when her team was in desperate need of points.  2 of the four times she scored in the first half either broke a tie or moved Eastern into a tie game.  She was perfect on all 6 second half free throws, as well as all 3 shots from the field including 1 three pointer.

Senior Lexie Nelson added 14 points, 3 assists and 1 steal for the Eagles.  Junior Hayley Hodgins scored 12 points and added 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.  Freshman Delaney Hodgins scored 11 points to round out the Eagles who scored in double digits, she also grabbed 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block.  Senior Melissa Williams led all players with 11 rebounds and added 7 points, 4 steals and 3 assists.  The Eagles got 6 bench points, 2 each from Cece Pearl (1 rebound), Tisha Phillips (5 rebounds 2 assists) and Mariah Cunningham (2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 assist).

The Eagle women play sound basketball and are fun to watch.  Check them out the next time you get the chance, and if you miss a game you can watch it on or the watch big sky mobile app!

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