Eagle women go 2-0 in Big Sky battles


Photo by Karissa Berg

Senior guard Aubrey Ashenfelter drives to the basket against Southern Utah.

By Elohino Theodore

Eastern makes it’s mark in close games

The Eastern women’s basketball team won two close Big Sky games on Feb. 20 and 24 against Southern Utah and Portland State.

“I think that as a team we’re really maturing,” senior guard Aubrey Ashenfelter said. “We’re making plays that decide how the game is going to go.”

“I would definitely say that we’ve learned how to finish games, and be the tougher team in the end,” redshirt sophomore Hayley Hodgins said. “We’re only getting better at finishing.”

At Reese Court, the Eagles hosted Southern Utah on Feb. 20 where they beat the Thunderbirds 59-54. The game consisted of eight ties and 14 lead changes. Eastern shot only 39.1 percent on the court.

“I think we definitely shut down their scorers,” Hodgins said. “I think we stuck to the game plan and really executed.”

The Eagles made seven 3-pointers for the game and went 16-of-22 from the free-throw line. Eastern went on a 10-3 run in the second half to get a definitive lead. Southern Utah later cut EWU’s lead to one point. Redshirt junior guard Lexie Nelson scored a 3-pointer to increase EWU’s lead to four points late in the second half.

EWU later clamped down on defense, eventually got aggressive and got to the free-throw line. However, Southern Utah did not give up so easily; the Thunderbirds went on another run late in the second half to cut Eastern’s lead to two points.

The Eagles continued to go to the free-throw line to convert on five free throw shots to earn win No. 13 of the season. Each team had 32 rebounds for the game. Eastern had 20 points off of turnovers and 10 fast break points over Southern Utah’s four points.

Nelson finished with 17 points, Hodgins contributed with 12 points and seven rebounds. Redmon finished with 11 points, while Junior Melissa Williams chipped in with eight rebounds, eight points and three blocks.

On Feb. 24, the Eagles raced against Portland State and beat the Vikings by a bare margin of 61-60.

“We had a really good first half defensively and then the second half was terrible,” Ashenfelter said. “We let them score way to much, but in the end we basically got lucky.”

“I definitely think we stayed in the game, and we didn’t let outside forces affect us,” Hodgins said. “I think we really pushed through in the end through adversity. We didn’t rebound as well as we wanted to, and we still found a way to win.”

Eastern started out sharp with a run to put the Eagles up by six points. The Vikings cut Eastern’s lead to two points, but Eastern’s aggression could not be stopped as they scored eight straight points. With three minutes left in the first half, Eastern went up by 10 points to make the score 24-14.

The Eagles could not be stopped as they raced into halftime.

Portland State fought back to stay afloat in the game. In the beginning of the second half, the Vikings cut Eastern’s lead to five. Hodgins, however, scored a 3-pointer to increase the Eagles lead to eight points.

The Vikings lead for the first time since the first half at the five minute mark in the second half. It became a back and forth affair for the last four minutes of the game. Williams scored back-to-back baskets to cut Portland State’s lead to one point.

With 33 seconds left, the Vikings called a timeout with the score 60-59. Ashenfelter changed the momentum of the game by blocking a jump shot and scoring a basket to put the Eagles up by one point to win the game.

Hodgins scored a game high of 17 points, Nelson and Ashenfelter contributed with 11 points. Redmon finished with 10 points and Williams chipped in with seven rebounds and six points. The Eagles led the Vikings in assists 15-12, they also led in points in the paint, 28-26.

With the season winding down, Hodgins gave her view on some of the things the team has to do in order to keep winning. “I think [we should] just stick to the game plan, every time we do, we win,” Hodgins said. “Rebounding is always one of our goals, and I think last night we kind of got away with not meeting that goal, so just realizing that and keep pushing forward.”

Eastern will host Northern Colorado on Feb. 27 at Reese Court.