EWU basketball begins 2016-17 season

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

The EWU men’s basketball team opened up the 2016-17 season with a pair of drastically different games, beating the Division III Linfield Wildcats 70-47 at home and falling to the Big Ten’s Northwestern Wildcats 86-72 on the road.

Senior Felix Von Hofe led the Eagles in scoring against Linfield, scoring 21 points while shooting 7-12 (58.3 percent) from three-point range. Sophomore Cody Benzel added 17 points, while senior transfer Jacob Wiley finished with eight points, seven rebounds, five blocks and four assists. The Eagles held Linfield to 19-57 (33.3 percent) shooting from the field and 2-17 (11.8 percent) from beyond the arc.

“We did some things really well, including our shooting,” said head coach Jim Hayford. “If you are going to play a zone for 40 minutes, we’re going to get the ball to our shooters. Felix was good all night and Cody was amazing in the first half.”

The Eagles could not duplicate their strong defensive performance three days later, thanks in part to Northwestern shooting 23-26 (88.5 percent) from the free throw line. Still, the Eagles were able to keep within a few possessions of Northwestern throughout most of the game as junior Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 25 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.

Wiley had another strong outing for the Eagles, scoring 19 points on just 11 shots. Freshman Mason Peatling was the only other EWU player to reach double figures, scoring 10 points in just 13 minutes of playing time.

“Right now we are trying to find strengths, roles and cohesion, and we are playing very quality opponents to help figure that out,” Hayford said.


Women’s Basketball

The EWU women’s basketball team faced a tall task on Nov. 11, traveling to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Huskies were a Final Four team from the 2015-16 season.

The Eagles fell to the Huskies 100-52 in their season opener, shooting 20-61 (32.8 percent) from the field and 4-26 (15.4 percent) from three-point range. The Eagles were outscored by the Huskies 16-61 in the second and third quarters, compared to being outscored just 39-36 in the first and fourth quarters.

Junior Delaney Hodgins led the Eagles in scoring with 13 points on 6-17 (35.3 percent) shooting and added four rebounds and three steals. Senior Tisha Phillips was the only other Eagle to score in double figures, recording 12 points. Senior Ashli Payne had 10 rebounds to go with 6 points.

“We are obviously disappointed in tonight’s outcome,” said head coach Wendy Schuller. “I think Washington is a great team and they played excellent basketball tonight. We didn’t play at the level I had hoped we would.”

The Eagles conclude Preseason WNIT play in Mt. Pleasant, MI, where they play Elon University on Nov. 18, and then play either Central Michigan University or Furman University on Nov. 19.