EWU women’s basketball floored by Idaho State in Big Sky Quarterfinals

EWU womens basketball floored by Idaho State in Big Sky Quarterfinals

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

The EWU women’s basketball team found themselves in a tough competitive game with Idaho State that had seven ties, seven lead changes and 44 fouls due to the physicality of the game.

In their last game for the 2013-2014 season, Eastern played on March 13. The Eagles lost to the Bengals in overtime, 70-65 and saw their season come to an end.

“They just got a lot of easy layups,” senior guard Aubrey Ashenfelter said. “I think towards the end of the game we just weren’t playing as solid a defense as we needed to play. They were just getting easy shots in the paint, and we weren’t getting those.”

Redshirt junior guard Lexie Nelson also gave her view on how the team could not overcome Idaho State. “They’re a tough team. I got to give them credit to their coaching staff, they do a good job preparing their team,” Nelson said. “They play really hard, and they always come to play.”

Ashenfelter gave the Eagles an 11-2 lead by scoring seven straight points in the first half. Eastern went six for eight to increase their lead by nine points. After the opening run, however, the Eagles would go on to miss their next six shots.

The Bengals took advantage of Eastern’s scoring drought. Idaho State went on a 10-0 run to take a three point lead, 25-22. The Eagles would answer with an 8-0 run to lead at halftime, 30-28.

Both teams stepped up in the second half. The Eagles took an early lead of 42-34, but Idaho State took away the lead with an 8-0 run. EWU answered back to regain the lead by four points. The Bengals kept the competition going by scoring two points to lead at the 2:47 mark.

With less than 30 seconds left in the second half, the Eagles played lockdown defense on Idaho State to force a jump ball situation. The Bengals missed the last shot at the buzzer and the game went into overtime.

In overtime, Idaho State scored back-to-back to go on a run. EWU cut the Bengals’ lead to three points in three different situations. However, Idaho State would answer back to increase their lead to five points. Idaho State would get the victory to move on to the Big Sky semifinals.

Despite the loss, Ashenfelter and Nelson felt like the team competed well throughout the entire game. “I thought we played really hard, that really helped us a lot and we rebounded a lot better in the first half,” Ashenfelter said.

“We kind of had to fight through some adversity,” Nelson said. “I think we had some good bench play, I think we had a good first half.”

According to Ashenfelter, the Bengals made things very difficult on EWU offensively. “They took probably like six charges on us in the whole game,” Ashenfelter said. “Just those turnovers really didn’t help us. They just did a lot of little things that we weren’t doing at the time.”

Ashenfelter finished with 17 points and four assists, while Nelson contributed with 10 points. Redshirt sophomore Hayley Hodgins, junior forward Melissa Williams and freshman guard Jade Redmon all finished with 10 points as well.

Idaho State out-rebounded the Eagles 46-32; however, both teams were tied at 12 assists. Eastern had a game high of 19 turnovers, but outscored the Bengals 22-12 in points in the paint.

Ashenfelter and Nelson looked back on how their season went and reflected on some of their failures and achievements. Both players gave different views on how the team competed this year. “You’re always going to have a few things you know you could have done differently,” Ashenfelter said. “But as a whole, I’m pretty happy with the way I played.”

Nelson felt like the team could have done more, but she is also looking forward to next season as well. “I’m the type of person that’s never really satisfied. I always want more, but I definitely feel like we underachieved this year. But, I’m not dwelling on it, we just got to move forward and never live in the past,” Nelson said.

The Eagles finished with an overall record of 16-14 for the season and a 12-8 record against the conference teams. The team also finished with an impressive 12-3 home record. Almost every single player will be coming back next season, with the exception of Ashenfelter and center Laura Hughes who are graduating this year.