Eagle Women to Meet Idaho State in Big Sky Quarterfinal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eagle Women to Meet Idaho State in Big Sky Quarterfinal

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The EWU women's basketball team will face Idaho State in the Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals this Thursday. The EWU women's basketball team will face Idaho State in the Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals this Thursday.

by EWU Athletics

The Eastern Washington women's basketball team will make its fifth consecutive appearance in the Big Sky Tournament this week in Grand Forks, N.D., when it squares off with Idaho State in a quarterfinal game on Thursday, Mar. 13, at 5:30 p.m. PST.

Enterting this year's Big Sky Tournament as the No. 4 seed, Eastern (16-13, 12-8 Big Sky) will open play against fifth-seeded Idaho State (13-16, 11-9 BSC) in one of three quarterfinal games on Thursday.

Tournament host North Dakota and No. 2 seed Southern Utah shared the Big Sky regular season title while Montana finished third in the league standings. North Dakota receives a bye into the semifinal round while Southern Utah will play seventh-seeded Sacramento State at 12:30 p.m. PST on Thursday followed by Montana's clash against in-state rival and No. 6 seed Montana State at 3 p.m. PST.

North Dakota will face the lowest remaining seed in the first of two semifinals on Friday, Mar. 14, at 3 p.m. PST. The two highest remaining seeds will meet in the second semifinal that night at 5:30 p.m. PST.

The Big Sky Tournament champion will be decided on Saturday, Mar. 15, at 1 p.m. PST.

The Eagles enter the tournament having won eight of its last 11 games dating back to the start of February. Last weekend, EWU split a pair of road contests to close out its regular season, falling at Idaho State, 86-62, on Thursday, Mar. 6, before rebounding to defeat Weber State, 68-60, on Saturday, Mar. 8.

Junior Melissa Williams went for a career-high 23 points against the Bengals, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. It was her first 20-point game in 86 career outings for the Eagles. She followed that up with a double-double against Weber State, notching 10 points and 10 boards.

Redshirt junior Lexie Nelson led four Eagles in double figures with 20 points against Weber State, burying four three-pointers. Nelson leads the Big Sky and ranks seventh nationally in three-point percentage, shooting 44.8 percent from long range.

Eastern split the season series with Idaho State as both teams won on their home floors. The Eagles have twice faced the Bengals in the Big Sky Tournament, dropping both contests.

EWU edged Idaho State, 67-55, in this season's first meeting at Reese Court back on Jan. 4. Nelson and redshirt sophomore Hayley Hodgins combined for 37 of the Eagles' points, making five of the team's seven three-pointers. Eastern raced out to an 11-0 lead to start the game and never looked back, holding off a late rally from the Bengals while knocking down its free throws down the stretch.

Idaho State scored 55 second-half points in this season's second meeting to cruise past the Eagles, 86-62. ISU shot a blistering 79 percent in the second half, missing just five of 24 shots while burying seven three-pointers.

Lindsey Reed (16.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) earned First Team All-Big Sky honors while Jessica Tingey (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) was an all-league honorable mention pick.

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