EWU women try to restart streak in home stand
That once in a blue moon trip through Montana which results in a sweep for the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team will have to wait for another season.
The Eagles saw their five-game winning streak come crashing to earth last Saturday afternoon in Dahlberg Arena in Missoula as the Grizzlies rolled 76-51 in Big Sky Conference play. Eastern, 8-4 in Big Sky play and 12-9 overall earned a 68-59 victory Thursday in Bozeman’s Worthington Arena in the start of the second half of conference play.
Now Eastern tries to get back on track towards securing a playoff spot when they face Sacramento State (7-4, 12-8) tonight at 6:05 p.m. at Reese Court and then face Northern Arizona (3-7, 4-15) Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Eastern lost to both these teams earlier in the year on the road.
“Montana played a great game,” Eastern head coach Wendy Schuller said. “From the get go, they were firing on all cylinders.”
Eastern led just once, 3-2 on a 3-point shot from former Grizzly Lexi Nelson 53 seconds into the game. And while the Eagles stayed close, trailing 24-23 with 6:05 to play in the half, they faded in the final minutes as Montana went on a 7-0 run and led at the break 40-27.
Montana has averaged 65.2 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting but put up 76 points against the Eags, shooting 48 percent from the field. The Lady Griz made 17-of-27 shots in the first half alone. Montana was led by All-Big Sky first team forward Katie Baker, who made 10 of her 15 shots from the field for a game-high 22.
Junior center Laura Hughes was the only Eagle in double digits, as she finished with 11 points.
A 15-0 run late in the second half allowed the Eagles to surge past the Bobcats in Bozeman. The Eagles overcame a nine-point deficit midway through the half to end the game on a 17-2 run.
After scoring nine unanswered points, Montana State held a 48-39 lead with 12:07 to play. But following a timeout by Schuller, the Eagles slowly began to see a shift in momentum. A basket by junior Aubrey Ashenfelter, followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play for senior Carrie Ojeda sparked the game-winning run.
Senior Carrie Ojeda finished with a season-high 18 points with Nelson adding 17. Ashenfelter had 11 points - all of which came in the second half.
Eastern finished the game shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three. The Eagles went 10-of-10 at the free-throw line, including 6-of-6 in the final 40 seconds to preserve the win.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.