EWU Women’s Basketball Clinches First-Round Bye in Big Sky Tournament


Brad Brown

(Left to right) Tisha Phillips, Bethany Montgomery and Ashli Payne.

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

The EWU women’s basketball team capped off their Big Sky Conference (BSC) regular season schedule with the team’s most important win of the season.
The Eagles knocked off the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 79-64 on Senior Day to finish BSC play with a 12-6 record, clinching a first-round bye in the BSC Tournament, which will be held from March 6-11 in Reno, Nevada.
EWU never trailed in the game, thanks in part to a blazing start by senior Ashli Payne, who ended the first quarter with nine points on 4-5 field goal shooting. The Eagles led 20-15 after the first quarter and extended their lead to double-digits at halftime, 39-28.
Northern Arizona never seriously threatened EWU’s lead in the second half, as the Eagles never led by less than nine points in the final two quarters. The Lumberjacks shot just 4-21 (19 percent) from three-point range in the game and just 1-10 (10 percent) in the second half.
Senior Tisha Phillips led the Eagles in scoring in her final game at Reese Court, pouring on 23 points (10-18 shooting) and five rebounds. Payne finished the game with 18 points, while junior Delaney Hodgins contributed with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Eagles committed just seven turnovers in the game, after averaging 17 turnovers per game on the season.
This is now the fifth consecutive season that a Wendy Schuller-led Eagles team has posted at least 12 wins in conference play, the only team in the BSC to accomplish such a feat.
The Eagles now wait until the first round of the BSC Tournament on March 6 to find out who they play in the quarterfinals on March 8. The quarterfinal matchup is scheduled to tip off at 2:35 p.m., with the Eagles playing the winner of the Idaho-Southern Utah game. All EWU women’s basketball games in the BSC Tournament can be watched on WatchBigSky.com.