Women’s basketball finishes Big Sky play 12-6

EWU defeat Weber State and Idaho St. to finish third


Anna Mills

D. Hodgins prepares a pass on a Idaho State defender

By Brandon Cline, Sports Writer

With Big Sky tournament positioning on the line, the EWU women’s basketball team closed out the regular season strong, winning their final two games and solidifying the fourth seed in the conference tournament.

Throughout conference play, the Eagles have been a team of runs. They started the season 4-0, but then lost four games in a row. They won six games in a row after the losing streak, their longest streak of the season, before losing two games leading up to the final series of the season against Idaho State University and Weber State University.

EWU jumped out to a 10-2 lead against ISU on March 5, in a game where the Eagles trailed in just 1 out of 40 minutes. ISU’s took a 49-48 lead with 4:59 left in the game, but a layup by Jade Redmon with 3:59 left re-gave the Eagles a lead. EWU would not relinquish it again in a 62-58 win, sealed off by a Melissa Williams jumper with 27 seconds remaining.

Four Eagles finished the night in double-figure scoring, led by Hayley Hodgins with 19 points in thanks to shooting 3-4 from 3-point range. Melissa Williams posted a double-double for the eleventh time this season, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

While EWU was out-rebounded 38-27 and produced zero points off the bench, they had 23 points off turnovers and held ISU to zero fast break points.

“Getting the win tonight was good for us. It was great to see us make big shots down the stretch, get some big stops late and make clutch free throws,” said head coach Wendy Schuller.

EWU had another close game against Weber State University two days later on Senior Day, where EWU said goodbye to Williams and Lexie Nelson.

Weber State sat at 6-11 in Big Sky play, but dictated much of the play in the first half and led 31-26 at halftime. They out-rebounded EWU 21-7 in the first half, which included gathering nine offensive rebounds.

Weber State scored a basket to go up 33-26 in the second half but its lead would never get bigger. The game was always within one or two possessions for the Eagles and they led briefly multiple times during the half.

After Weber State missed a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left in the game, Delaney Hodgins drove to the lane with 20 seconds left and made a layup to tie the game at 58. On an inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, Weber State missed a shot right at the rim, sending the game to overtime.

In overtime, the teams were a combined 2-10 shooting from the field, but it was Hayley Hodgins’ jumper in the key with 3.1 seconds remaining that put EWU atop for good, 64-62.

“It could have been anyone. We practice those shots every day, and I was just lucky enough to have the ball in my hands at the end of the game,” said Hayley Hodgins.

A desperation three-point attempt from Weber State as time expired fell short, and EWU finished off the regular season with a series sweep.

Hayley Hodgins was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points, and is currently eighth all-time in scoring in EWU program history. Williams posted her twelfth double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Delaney Hodgins stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 15 points and finishing with five rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block.

“I didn’t think we played great for the first 30 minutes, but I thought we battled over the last 10, especially on the defensive end,” said Schuller. “I’m proud of us for battling and finding a way. We just need to play that way for 40 minutes because that’s who we are and that’s what we’re capable of.”

EWU faces Northern Arizona University in the first round of the Big Sky tournament on Wednesday at 4:30 Pacific Time. EWU beat NAU, 73-42, at Reese Court in the teams’ only meeting this year.