EWU Women Defeat Hornets in Comeback Fashion - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

EWU Women Defeat Hornets in Comeback Fashion

Haley Hodgins scored 19 points in the Eagles win at Sacramento State on Thursday night. Haley Hodgins scored 19 points in the Eagles win at Sacramento State on Thursday night.

by EWU Athletics

Sacramento, Calif. – The Eastern Washington women's basketball team opened a 22-point advantage in the first half then withstood a furious comeback from host Sacramento State to steal a key road win, 79-73, in Big Sky Conference play on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Hornets Nest.

Eastern (12-10, 8-5 Big Sky) seemed poised for a runaway victory, opening up a 22-point lead late in the first half after shooting better than 50 percent from the field and knocking down seven three-pointers over the opening 20 minutes.

Sacramento State (15-7, 7-6 BSC) ended the first half on an 8-0 run to cut the Eagles' lead to 14 at the break before crawling all the way back in the second stanza to tie the score at 72-72 with 1:23 remaining. The Eagles were able to get defensive stops on the Hornets' next four possessions while making seven of eight free throws over the final minute to hang on for the win.

"Give Sacramento State a lot of credit for battling back," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "I don't think we were as aggressive in the early part of the second half as we were in the first half, and we didn't take care of the ball as well. As the half progressed, I thought we did a better job and the last five minutes was a solid effort on both ends. When we decide to lock down defensively, we can do special things."

The Eagles never trailed on the night and have now won four consecutive games. Eastern now owns sole possession of fourth place in the Big Sky standings after Idaho State fell at home to Southern Utah earlier tonight.

"It's important to have momentum in February," Schuller said. "We've figured some things out and players have grown into their roles. I think we're better defensively than we were one or two months ago, and we're rebounding better, also. I'm happy with our progress, but I still think there are things we can do to improve in order to reach our peak in March."

Junior Lexie Nelson had a game-high 23 points to lead four Eagles in double-figures. She made four three pointers and finished 8-of-12 from the field.

Redshirt sophomore Hayley Hodgins finished just shy of the 20-point plateau, extending her double-figure scoring streak to 12 games with a 19-point effort. She added eight points and a career-high four blocks to her impressive stat line.

Senior Aubrey Ashenfelter added 14 points and 10 rebounds, collecting her third double-double of the year. Freshman Bethany Montgomery chipped in a season-high 13 points off the bench, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and grabbing seven rebounds.

Freshman Jade Redmon led EWU with six assists as Eastern provided helpers on 21 of its 26 made buckets.

EWU shot 52.0 percent from the field on the night, its best shooting performance in a road game this season. The Eagles shot 43.8 percent from downtown, making all seven of its three-pointers in the first half. Eastern also went 20-of-26 from the charity stripe, shooting 17-of-21 in the second half.

Sacramento State shot just 32.4 percent from the field as Eastern's defense frustrated the Hornets' high-scoring attack. CSUS connected on just 23.3 percent of its shots from distance, making 10 of 43 attempts.

The Eagles outrebounded the hosts, 43-38, and held the Hornets to just 16 second chance points despite allowing 18 offensive rebounds. Eastern turned the ball over 24 times to the tune of 21 points for CSUS while Sacramento State committed 15 miscues.

Eastern simply could not miss in the early going, knocking down its first five shots to open up a 15-5 lead less than five minutes into the game. Hodgins buried consecutive three-pointers as the Eagles opened up a 12-point advantage, 23-11, with 13:24 on the clock, but the hosts answered with a quick 5-0 run to pull to within seven, 23-16, at the 11:30 mark.

The Eagles took off from there, reeling off a 19-4 run over the next eight minutes to open up a 22-point lead, 42-20, with 3:10 left in the half. Nelson had nine points in the stretch, burying two three-pointers and converting a three-point play. The Hornets were held scoreless for nearly six minutes as the hosts shot just 23 percent in the first half.

Sacramento State was able to get some momentum back before the break, ending the half on an 8-0 run to cut Eastern's lead to 14, 42-28, heading into the locker room.

The hosts continued to crawl back early in the second half, pulling to within two, 56-54, with 10:18 remaining. The Eagles answered with a run of their own, using four free throws from Redmon and a bucket from Nelson to go back up seven, 65-58, at the 6:55 mark.

The Hornets had one final run in them, scoring 12 of the next 19 points to even things at 72-72 with less that a minute left. Eastern drained its free throws down the stretch and came up with crucial defensive stops to hold off CSUS for the win.

Eastern concludes its weekend with a Big Sky counter at Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 13. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. PST and can be seen regionally on Fox Sports Arizona.

  • College

    • Eastern drops first Big Sky game at Southern Utah 46-28

      The first quarter seemed to come easy for the No. 8 Eastern Washington University football team. But the last three were excruciating.

    • Last Second Field Goal Lifts Cats to Win Over Northern Colorado

      Montana State made a furious second-half comeback that eventually led to the Bobcats converting on a 27-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Northern Colorado, 27-24, at Nottingham Field on Saturday.

    • Rocky Mountain Offense Struggles in Loss to Carroll

      Rocky Mountain compiled just 192 yards of total offense in the game.

    • Whitworth hits offensive strides; defeats Puget Sound 38-23

      SPOKANE, Wash. – Senior quarterback Ian Kolste made a successful return from an ankle injury to lead Whitworth to a 38-23 win over visiting Puget Sound and set his team's career record for total offense along the way. Kolste, who was injured on October 7th against George Fox and missed all of the following week's win at Pacific Lutheran, completed 20 of 32 passes for 224 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in two quarters of play, leading the Pirates to a 31-7 half...
    • Missouri routs Idaho 68-21

      COLUMBIA, Mo.- Idaho struck first, but Missouri scored 37 unanswered points en route to a 68-21 victory over the Vandals Saturday, in Columbia, Mo.   After Armond Hawkins intercepted Missouri quarterback Drew Lock on the first play from scrimmage, Matt Linehan found Kaden Elliss for a seven-yard touchdown as Idaho (2-5) took a 7-0 lead. Big plays helped the Tigers (2-5) answer the score and a punt return touchdown put Missouri on top for good. The Tigers led 51-14 at halftime....
    • Friday Night Blitz Highlights and Scores 10/20

      Check out your high school football from week 9, as well as playoff soccer in Class AA!

    • Eagles to play Southern Utah in Big Sky Conference matchup

      After a 31-19 home triumph versus Montana State, the Eagles are now 4-0 in the Big Sky Conference standings just ahead of Northern Arizona at 3-0.

    • Whitworth to host Puget Sound Saturday on SWX

      Whitworth University returns home to take on its oldest football rival on Saturday when the Pirates host the University of Puget Sound in the Pine Bowl at 1:05 pm.  The game televised regionally on SWX and will be heard live in Spokane on KSBN 1230am and on the world wide web at KSBN.net.  The radio broadcast will begin at 12:45 pm.

    • Zags ranked 19th in preseason Coaches' Poll

      The Gonzaga men’s basketball team was ranked No. 19 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ preseason poll Thursday. It marked the eighth straight season that the Zags appeared in the coaches’ preseason poll.

    • Chris Petersen named to Bryant, Dodd Award watch lists

      Washington football coach Chris Petersen has been named to the watch list for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award and to the midseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy. Both are given annually to the nation's top college coach.