Without a game at Reese Court in more than a month and seven-straight on the road during that time, it took the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team a little while to settle in on its home floor. But a strong second-half effort allowed the Eagles to grab a 58-47 victory over Warner Pacific last Saturday, Dec. 29 at Reese Court.
Eastern, which has now won four games in a row, improves to 6-5 overall in the 2012-13 campaign. The Eagles will return to Big Sky Conference play when they host league-leading Montana tonight (Thurs. Jan. 3) at 6:05 p.m., followed by visit from Montana State Saturday at 2:05 p.m.
A cold starting Eastern team was stonewalled by a solid Warner Pacific defense and shot just 27 percent from the field in the first half, and made just 4-of-15 from beyond the arc.
“We did not shoot the ball well,” EWU head coach Wendy Schuller said. “I was disappointed in the way we shot it from three and our effort at the free-throw line.”
Things got much better, however, in the second half on both ends for the Eagles. They shot 43 percent from the field, and held the Knights to just 8-of-33, including a dismal 0-of-7 effort from long range.
“At halftime, we talked about pushing the ball more, getting down the floor and getting transition baskets,” Schuller said. “We were able to get more layups and more shots in the paint in the second half, which translated into a much better shooting percentage.”
The Eagles scored the first seven points coming out of the locker room, and held onto that lead rest of the way. They led by as many as 14 points midway through the period, but WPC managed to hang around, and cut it to eight with less than four minutes on the clock.
Junior Aubrey Ashenfelter hit a 3-point shot to put Eastern back up by double-digits and sophomore Lexie Nelson sealed it with a layup at the 1:34-mark.
Nelson ended up with a game-high 19 points - her 10th double-digit performance of the season. She hit three 3-pointers, while also contributing four rebounds, three assists and one block.
The Eagles scored the first eight points of the game, but Warner Pacific charged back with a 13-3 run, which gave the visiting team a two-point lead with under nine minutes to play in the half. The two teams traded baskets the rest of the way, and went into the locker room tied 25-25.
Eastern found its edge by attacking the lane, as the Eagles out-scored WPC in the paint, 22-12. Eastern also had a 10-0 edge in fast break points in the second period.