Eastern Washington Moves on to Big Sky Semifinals - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eastern Washington Moves on to Big Sky Semifinals

Updated:
Eastern Washington will face Northern Colorado on Friday in the Big Sky tournament semifinals. Eastern Washington will face Northern Colorado on Friday in the Big Sky tournament semifinals.

Courtesy Eastern Washington athletics

With five different Eagles scoring in double figures, and a scintillating 15-0 run in the second half, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team was able to get past the Bobcats of Montana State, 68-53, on Wednesday (March 13) in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Big Sky Conference women's basketball tournament in Missoula, Mont.

No. 3-seed Eastern (19-11) advances to the semifinals to take on No.2-seed Northern Colorado (19-11) on Friday (March 15) at 10 a.m. PDT/11 a.m. MDT at Dahlberg Arena.  

It was not a pretty start for either team on Wednesday afternoon in Missoula, as the Eags and Bobcats combined for 21 turnovers in the first period, and made just 21-of-59 shots between them. But the second half was a different story.

Eastern committed just four turnovers total in the second period, and shot 57 percent from the field, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. EWU forced nine Bobcat turnovers, which it converted into 11 points on the other end, and after being out-rebounded in the first 20 minutes, 22-17, EWU and MSU were even on the boards in the second.

"I thought defense really keyed our offensive effort in the second half," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "I thought we did a good job putting pressure on them and getting our hands on some balls. That maybe got them a little frustrated, and then we were able to get into the open floor and run."

Coming out of the break, Montana State hit its first two baskets to take a 29-26 lead, but at that point, Eastern Washington caught fire. Over the next five minutes, the Eagles made six-consecutive baskets, including two threes from Eastern's Big Sky Freshman of the Year, Hayley Hodgins.

The Eagles scored 15 unanswered points before MSU's Peyton Ferris put a momentary stop to the bleeding with a mid-range jumper at the 12:29-mark of the second half. But in what seemed like the blink of an eye, EWU had turned that three-point deficit into a 16-point lead at 49-33.

During the run, EWU had three different players score at least four points, thanks in large part sophomore point guard Kylie Huerta, who contributed four assists and two steals during the surge.

"Kylie did a great job of making sure we were organized," said All-Big Sky first-team guard Lexie Nelson, who finished with a game-high 18 points, including three in a row to spark the Eagle run. "She made sure we all stayed on the same page, and we just kept running and pushing the ball."

With 9:08 to play, the Bobcats had managed to cut the lead to nine (49-40), but that was the closest they would come, as EWU's junior center Laura Hughes converted three-straight layups to put Eastern back up by 17.

Hughes was one of five Eagles to eclipse double-digits in the game, as she finished with 13 on a perfect 6-of-6 effort from the floor. Unfortunately though, Hughes made a premature exit after she took hard fall on the defensive end.

Nelson led the team with 18 points, while Huerta and junior guard Aubrey Ashenfelter both finished with 12. Huerta was one assist shy of her first-career double-double, as she finished with nine times, as well as six steals.

Hodgins tallied with 11 points, including a three big ones from downtown, which was the catalyst for the momentum swing in the second half.

"It was good to see Hayley knock down that three out of the corner, which kind of got us going," said Schuller. "We had five players in double figures. We talk about this all the time - when we share the basketball, we are a good team. In the first half, I thought we spent a lot of time going one-on-one. It was pass, then the next one dribble, then pass, then dribble. In the second half, I thought we shared the ball a lot better. We got into the open floor, kind of let Kylie do her work, and had players knock down some shots."

Eastern finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field, while holding MSU to 36.7. EWU had 13 assists and 15 turnovers, compared to just nine assists and 19 miscues for the Bobcats. Eastern is now 17-2 in the 2012-13 campaign when posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.8 or better.

With the men's tournament also taking place in Missoula, Eastern will get a full day to decompress before facing No. 2 Northern Colorado on Friday. The Bears advanced to the semis after a 67-59 win over Southern Utah in the game just before Eastern's on Wednesday. The Eagles and Bears split during the regular-season, with each team winning on its home floor. But in Cheney, EWU dominated the Bears, 63-38, and in Greeley, UNC only escaped by one point after a buzzer-beating floater by UNC's All-Big Sky first-teamer D'shara Strange.

  • College

    • Report: Gonzaga and Creighton agree to home-and-home series starting next season

      The Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team has agreed to a home-and-home series against the Creighton Bluejays starting next season, according to The Spokesman-Review.

    • WSU's Hercules Mata’afa named to Lott Impact Trophy watch list

      NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa has been named to the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced recently. Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Ronnie Lott...

    • Gonzaga's Pagdanganan wraps season up with 73 at the NCAA Championships

      SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Bianca Pagdanganan ended her time at the 2017 NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., on Monday with a one-over 73 in the final round. Pagdanganan’s 73 was the best round in NCAA Championships history for the Zags, besting her first round of 76 from last year...

    • Update on college basketball's top transfers

      The Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team has notoriously been a hot spot for potential transfers and this year was no different. After the departures of players like Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski, the Bulldogs are looking to reload for the 2017-18 season. The Bulldogs currently have three scholarships

    • Former WSU player Robert Barber found not guilty of assault

      Former Washington State defensive lineman Robert Barber has been been found not guilty of assault in the second-degree and assault in the fourth-degree after he was connected to a brawl last summer.  Barber was charged with second-degree felony assault in February after he allegedly punched a WSU student at a party last July.

    • Gonzaga secures #1 seed in WCC Baseball Tournament

      The Gonzaga Bulldogs have locked up the No. 1 seed in the WCC Baseball Tournament after completing the sweep against the BYU Cougars on Saturday. The 2017 WCC Baseball Tournament will be held in Stockton, California and will begin on Thursday.

    • Gonzaga ranked #22 by Collegiate Baseball

      SPOKANE, Wash.—After going 5-1 over the last two weeks against two ranked teams, the Gonzaga baseball team has re-entered the Collegiate Baseball rankings at No. 22 of the national poll. The Bulldogs (31-17, 20-7 WCC) entered the poll thanks to a four-game win streak, including three straight games against then-No. 18 BYU...

    • No. 1 Oregon State completes sweep of Washington State, 14-3

      CORVALLIS, Ore. – Washington State dropped a 14-3 contest in the series-finale at No. 1 Oregon State Sunday afternoon. The Cougars saw their streak of four-straight Pac-12 series wins come to an end.

    • Zags complete sweep of BYU to clinch share of WCC title

      SPOKANE, Wash.—Entering the weekend, the Gonzaga baseball team needed a historic sweep of No. 18 BYU in a home series against the Cougars. Saturday night, the Zags finished off the sweep with a 6-2 win over the Cougars, earning a share of the title and the No. 1 seed at next weekend’s West Coast Conference Championships.

    • Cougs shutout by #1 Oregon State 5-0

      CORVALLIS, Ore. – Washington State dropped a 5-0 decision to No. 1 Oregon State at Goss Stadium Saturday afternoon.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Eastern WashingtonEWUMore>>

  • NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    The defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World SeriesThe defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World Series

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>
  • 2015-16 Academic Progress Rates released by the NCAA

    2015-16 Academic Progress Rates released by the NCAA

    Courtesy: Washington AthleticsCourtesy: Washington Athletics

    SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga's athletic programs continued to thrive in the latest release of the Academic Progress Rate by the NCAA on Wednesday with seven teams earning a perfect 1,000 score and all GU teams combining for a 997 mark. That mark is tied for the second-best combined average for any school in the nation, behind only the Ivy League's Dartmouth.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga's athletic programs continued to thrive in the latest release of the Academic Progress Rate by the NCAA on Wednesday with seven teams earning a perfect 1,000 score and all GU teams combining for a 997 mark. That mark is tied for the second-best combined average for any school in the nation, behind only the Ivy League's Dartmouth.

    More >>
  • Nick Booker hired as EWU's associate head men’s basketball coach

    Nick Booker hired as EWU's associate head men’s basketball coach

    Courtesy: EWU AthleticsCourtesy: EWU Athletics

    With seven years of NCAA Division I basketball experience, Nick Booker has been hired as the associate head coach on the staff of new Eastern Washington University men's basketball head coach Shantay Legans.   Booker spent the 2016-17 season at his alma mater, Davidson College, as director of basketball operations. The previous six seasons he was at UC Irvine in California, including the last five as an assistant coach.   As a player and coach, he has been...

    More >>

    With seven years of NCAA Division I basketball experience, Nick Booker has been hired as the associate head coach on the staff of new Eastern Washington University men's basketball head coach Shantay Legans.   Booker spent the 2016-17 season at his alma mater, Davidson College, as director of basketball operations. The previous six seasons he was at UC Irvine in California, including the last five as an assistant coach.   As a player and coach, he has been...

    More >>