Women’s basketball splits pair of Big Sky home games

EWU sets records against Portland State, falls to Sacramento State


Anna Mills

Diana Brown drives past PSU’s Lauren Holt

By Brandon Cline, Staff Writer

After starting the Big Sky conference season 3-0, EWU’s women’s basketball team headed into Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with home matchups against Portland State and Sacramento State.

It was a record-setting night on Jan. 15, as the Eagles beat Portland State University, 101-54, at Reese Court, where they improved to 6-1 at home. The 101 points scored were the fourth most in program history, and the third most in games that ended in regulation. The 60 first-half points were the most scored in a half under coach Wendy Schuller.

Senior Lexie Nelson led a balanced Eagles scoring attack, scoring 22 points on 6-9 shooting, as well as going a perfect 7-7 at the free throw line. Hayley Hodgins poured in 20 points, missing only one of her seven field goal attempts and going 3-3 from the three-point range. Three other Eagles scored in double figures, and EWU as a team shot 68 percent from the field, including 68.8 percent beyond the three-point line.

With Portland State down two points with 15:30 left in the first half, a Melissa Williams jump shot ignited a 52-18 Eagles run to close out the half and essentially put the game out of reach. EWU led for all but 12 seconds of the game, and led by as much as 51 points during the second half.

“I think it started in practice. We had a good week of practice, focused and coach really got on us, made sure we were prepared and ready to go. As a team, we came out with high energy, and we knew right from the start we wanted to jump right on them,” said Nelson, who scored 18 of her 22 points in the first half.

EWU faced a much stiffer competition in Sacramento State on Jan. 17, a team full of energy after winning three of its first four Big Sky games. After trailing nearly all of the first half and committing 17 turnovers, the Eagles went into halftime down three points, even though they shot 48.1 percent from the field, compared to 35.1 percent from Sacramento State.

The Eagles came out determined in the second half, as they took the lead and eventually expanded it to 10 points with 8:35 left in the game. But Sacramento State chipped away at the lead and tied the game at 67 with 58 seconds remaining. During the final minute, Sacramento State went 4-6 from the line and sealed the game with a breakaway layup with two seconds remaining, taking down the Eagles 73-67.

The loss dropped EWU to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The loss also ended the Eagles’ seven-game winning streak, which dated back to Dec. 17. The Eagles committed 28 turnovers in the game, and forced only eight. Although EWU outrebounded Sacramento State 51-31, they allowed Sacramento State to grab 14 offensive rebounds to their 12. The Eagles made only one of their 10 three-point attempts, and were 0-4 in the first half.

Hayley Hodgins led EWU in scoring with 27 points on 11-15 shooting, to go along with six rebounds. Melissa Williams recorded a double-double as she scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Hodgins and Williams combined to shoot 16-24, 66.7 percent, while the rest of the team shot 11-31, 35.5 percent

On the loss, Coach Schuller said: “That game came down to which team was able to make more plays at the end. They had some kids step up and make some big shots and we missed some shots that we should hit. It’s frustrating when you play so hard. We didn’t necessarily play well, but we played really, really hard, and when you expend that energy and come up just short like we did, it’s tough.”

EWU hits the road for three conference games, and return to Reese Court on Feb. 5 for a two-game home stand against Montana and Montana State.