Women’s Basketball team seeded No. 2 in tournament

By Grace Pohl, Staff Writer

The EWU women’s basketball team goes into the Big Sky Basketball Tournament ranked as a No. 2 seed, with Montana State at the No. 1 seed. The Eagles lost their last two games of the season on the road against Idaho State University and Weber State University.

The team finished its season 19-11 overall and 13-5 in conference play. The Eagles have a first-round bye into the quarterfinals where they will play the winning team between No. 7 Sacramento State or No. 10 Southern Utah.

The Eagles still had a shot at the No. 1 seed, even after their loss to Idaho State, because University of North Dakota beat Montana on the same night. Unfortunately, the Eagles could not go on to beat Weber State the next game, landing them the second seed.

EWU and Idaho State battled back and forth throughout the game, entering the fourth quarter tied, 46-46. The game came down to the wire until the Bengals were able to pull away with the win, 71-62, over the Eagles.

Redshirt senior guard Hayley Hodgins had a game-high 31 points, adding three rebounds and a steal to her stats.

Junior guard Tisha Phillips also scored in the double-digits with 15 points and tallied four steals and three rebounds. Sophomore forward Delaney Hodgins was the only other Eagle to score in double-digits with 10 points and a pair of rebounds.

The Eagles were held to only 62 points, having their lowest scoring game since scoring 60 points against North Dakota on Jan. 2. EWU shot 34.8 percent from the field and only went 4-of-18 from the 3-point arc.

“We as a program pride ourselves in success, we take losses as a learning experience and don’t hold onto them for long,” said Hayley Hodgins. “We are confident in our abilities and will move forward as always.”

With this game, Hayley Hodgins played in her 123rd game as an Eagle, which set a new program record for career appearances. Aubrey Ashenfelter (2011-14) and Melissa Williams (2012-15) held the previous record of 122 career games.

The following game against Weber State University was another battle for EWU. The Wildcats  never trailed throughout the game and led by as many as 17 points in the first half.

The Eagles went into halftime down, 37-29. Junior forward Ashli Payne came out hot, scoring the first 6 points of the third quarter to bring the Eagles within 2 points. Weber State answered with 9 points, putting it back into a lead over EWU.

Even though the Eagles did not go down without a fight, they lost the contest, 80-74.

Hayley Hodgins led Eastern in scoring with 19 points, making three buckets from the 3-point arc. Hayley Hodgins moved to fifth all-time on the Big Sky’s career made 3-pointers list and now has 235 career 3-pointers.

Both Payne and Delaney Hodgins had double-doubles. Payne had 15 points and 10 rebounds while Hodgins also had 15 points and 10 rebounds with three blocks and two assists.

Freshman guard Violet Kapri Morrow scored 8 points off the bench while redshirt sophomore guard Bethany Montgomery scored 6 points in only 13 minutes of playing time.

EWU shot at  35.4 percent while Weber State shot at 49.1 percent —  their best performance in 14 games. This was EWU’s first loss to Weber State in 15 match-ups, dating back to Feb. 14, 2008.

“Weber State played good basketball tonight,” head coach Wendy Schuller said. “I thought they played harder and smarter than we did, especially early. We kept digging ourselves holes as a result of a breakdown here or there, and we didn’t shoot the ball well. It’s tough to win on the road when you shoot 35 percent. We had a lot of good looks in the paint, and we just need to finish those shots next time.”

The Eagles travel to Reno, Nevada, on March 6 for the 2016 Big Sky Basketball Tournament. Their next game is on March 9 against the No. 7 or No. 10 seed at 5:35 p.m. PST.