Eagles Collapse in Final Minutes, Allow NAU Victory 62-58 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eagles Collapse in Final Minutes, Allow NAU Victory 62-58

By: Eastern Washington University Athletics

CHENEY, Wa. --  The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team led the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona by as many as 12 points in the second half, but a few sloppy offensive possessions down the stretch resulted in a tough 62-58 loss for the Eagles on Saturday (Feb. 9) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

In the final 4:14, the Eagles went 0-of-6 from the field and committed three turnovers, while NAU scored 11 unanswered points and corralled two huge offensive boards to hold on for a slim four-point victory on the road.

With the win, the Lumberjacks solidified a regular-season sweep of the Eagles - the first and only one of the year for the red and white. Eastern lost in Flagstaff on Jan. 10, 83-68.

"Well, we turned the ball over, and they [NAU] scored it. Simple as that," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "We did an awful job the last four minutes taking care of the basketball. We had shots, but just couldn't knock them down. But credit to NAU because they fought and hung with us down the stretch."

Eastern falls to 13-10 on the year and 9-5 in Big Sky play. The Eagles remain in third place in the standings, but drop to a full two games behind conference-leading Montana (11-3), and one and a half behind second-place Northern Colorado (10-3).

The Lumberjacks got a boost to their postseason hopes, as they improve to 6-16 on the year and 5-8 in league play - just a half-game out of seventh.

The first half on Saturday was a back-and-forth affair, but a 7-2 Eagle run at the end of the period allowed the home team to enjoy a five-point edge at intermission.

Within the first five minutes of the second half, the Eagles had built that lead to 12, but NAU then scored eight unanswered points, as the momentum slowly started to shift.

"We were just slow," said Schuller. "I was yelling at the team to go faster, run the offense faster, but we just looked lethargic. You can't play that way against an athletic team that is fighting for their lives."

Eastern held an eight-point lead with 4:59 remaining in the game, but Big Sky leading scorer Amy Patton drained a fadeaway jumper that sparked a 9-1 run for the Jacks. With just 44 ticks left on the clock, NAU had managed to tie it up a 56.

On its next possession, NAU's senior guard/forward Tyler Stephens-Jenkins converted a layup in traffic and was sent to the line for an and-1. Stephens-Jenkins missed her free throw, but the Lumberjacks grabbed the offensive board, forcing EWU to foul.

NAU converted 5-of-6 free throws over the next 30 seconds, while EWU missed back-to-back field goal attempts.

With six seconds remaining, sophomore guard Lexie Nelson was able to earn a trip to the line and hit two free throws to make it a one possession game, but another offensive rebound for NAU following a missed free throw allowed the Jacks to just hold possession as time expired.

"I thought they manhandled us at times, and we did not respond," said Schuller. "I was not pleased with our ability to handle, pass and take care of the ball. We did not shoot it well or execute anything offensively in either with NAU this season. It is disappointing. We need to get more consistent effort from our players. We can't have somebody get 16 one night and four the next. I feel like we are really inconsistent right now, even when we are winning games. We are inconsistent in terms of our play, and that has got to get better."

Junior guard Aubrey Ashenfelter led the Eagles in almost every statistical category with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and a career-high-tying five steals.

"Overall, I thought Aubrey did a great job," said Schuller. "She had a hard assignment guarding Amy Patton. She [Patton] is a phenomenal scorer, and made some really tough shots over Aubrey. Somebody else has to be able to step up and help her, because Aubrey was trying to work on the offensive end and on the defensive end, she has the toughest assignment in the league."

Redshirt-freshman Hayley Hodgins also finished with 13 points, while point guard Kylie Huerta chipped in 12.

With exception of the final five minutes, EWU shot the ball fairly well, finishing the game at 42.6 percent. But NAU was slightly better at 43.1. The Eagles, who came in as the best 3-point shooting team in the league and one of the top 25 in the nation, did make just 5-of-18 attempts from beyond the arc. The Eagles also gave up 11 points on second-chance, while committing 18 turnovers throughout the contest.

Eastern has just two games over the next two weeks, with a trip to Southern Utah on Saturday, Feb. 16, followed by a home game against Portland State on Thursday, Feb. 21.

  • College

    • Defense dominates in Eastern's first Fall scrimmage

      There were only compliments being passed around after Eastern Washington University defensive units held EWU's vaunted offense without a touchdown in EWU's 72-play scrimmage Saturday at Roos Field.

    • Griz offense shines in second scrimmage of fall camp

      The Montana Grizzly defense might have stolen the show last week in the first scrimmage of fall camp. But the offense would not be denied Saturday as they racked up 24 first downs and nearly 400 yards of total offense.  

    • Vandals to host open scrimmage on Saturday

      Idaho football will wrap up fall camp Saturday (Aug. 19), with a scrimmage at 10 a.m. in the Kibbie Dome. The scrimmage is open to the public and will be the final chance for fans to see the Vandals in action before the season opener Aug. 31, against Sacramento State.
       
    • Danielle Mauldin joins Eagles women's basketball coaching staff

      Mauldin is Saint Mary's and the West Coast Conference's all-time leading rebounder with 1,282 over four years and also set a SMC program record for double-doubles.

    • Zags women’s soccer home match versus BYU on ESPNU

      Gonzaga will host preseason No. 8 BYU from Luger Field in a meeting that will have first-year GU head coach Chris Watkins facing his former school.

    • Gonzaga women's soccer begins regular season Friday

      The Zags are unbeaten in their last five season-openers, dating back to the 3-1 win over South Dakota in 2012. GU beat Nevada in Hawaii in last season’s opener, 1-0.

    • Jake Browning named to Manning Award watch list

      Browning was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting after passing for 3,430 yards and a Pac-12, record-tying 43 touchdowns in 2016.

    • Vandals QB Linehan named to Manning Award watch list

      Linehan threw for 3,184 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors. He also went on to capture the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Most Valuable Player award, after leading the Vandals to a win over Colorado State.

    • Luke Falk named to Manning Award watch list

      Falk, a redshirt-senior, was also finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award and a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award and Maxwell Award last season after throwing for the third-most yards in the country (4,468) and tying his own school-record with 38 touchdown passes.

    • Raptors sign Kyle Wiltjer to a 1-year deal

      Wiltjer, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, appeared in 14 games for the Houston Rockets last season, totaling 13 points and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes of action. He also averaged 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 35.9 minutes in 22 contests for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/