EWU women’s basketball wins second straight with thriller over Cal Poly


Sophomore guard Symone Starks sizes up the Cal Poly defense on Dec. 11. Starks had 10 points and 6 assists as the Eagles improved to 4-5 on the season. | Photo courtesy of Rod Swords

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

Four players scored in double figures on Dec. 11, as the EWU women’s basketball team finished its three-game home stand with a 75-72 victory over Cal Poly.

The Eagles, now 4-5 on the season, will head to Indiana where they will play Purdue, Saint Mary’s and Tennessee-Martin in the asketball Travelers Invitational, a round-robin style tournament starting on Dec. 17.

Monday’s victory was the most complete team effort of the season for EWU. As usual, senior forward Delaney Hodgins led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds. She also added three blocks and two steals.

The Eagles also got stellar performances from sophomore forward Uriah Howard (17 points, six rebounds), junior guard Kapri Morrow (17 points) and sophomore guard Symone Starks (10 points).

The win came against a solid NCAA Division I team, who is in the Big West Conference and entered the game with a winning record (4-3). Before coming to Cheney, they defeated Big Sky Conference member Northern Arizona University 89-73.

The game was an entertaining back-and-forth battle that saw neither team ever lead by double digits. The Mustangs came out prepared for Hodgins, and limited her to five points in the first half. Morrow paced the Eagles early, and Starks hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Eagles a 21-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. The lead changed six times in the quarter, and there were seven ties.

The second quarter was the most one-sided frame of the game, as there were only three lead changes. With 4:53 remaining in the quarter, Cal Poly went up 33-32. They would not surrender this lead for the rest of the first half. With two minutes remaining in the half, Cal Poly freshman guard Ayzhiana Basallo buried a triple to give her team an eight point lead, the largest advantage either team would see the entire contest.

EWU head coach Wendy Schuller then called what may be her best timeout of the young season. The Eagles regrouped, and closed the first half on 7-2 run. They trailed 44-41 at halftime, as both teams shot over 60 percent from the field. Morrow paced EWU with 12 points in the half.

Morrow’s stellar first half play drew more attention from Mustang defenders in the second half. Hodgins was able to take advantage of this, scoring 13 of her 18 points in the second half.

Ninety seconds into the third quarter, the Eagles re-tied the game at 45. The game then resumed its back-and-forth nature, as neither side led by more than three points for the remainder of the quarter.

Forty seconds into the fourth and final frame, the Mustangs went up by four points. This would be the game’s final two-possession lead. The teams remained within three points of one another for the final 9:20 of the game. A three pointer by Howard gave the Eagles a 73-72 lead with 2:06 remaining. This would be the game’s 24th and final lead change, as EWU came out on top.

“[The victory] was really good for us,” said Schuller. “We really needed to get over the hump against a really good basketball team, and I thought we did that today […] I love seeing a stat sheet with four players in double figures.”

The Eagles will play three games in Indiana, starting with Purdue on Dec. 17. Their next home game is on Dec. 28 against Northern Colorado in both teams’ Big Sky Conference opener.