Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Contributor 

Montana State sweeps EWU women at Reese

Eagles struggle on both offense, defense to fall in fourth straight

 

Last updated 2/18/2021 at 11:58am



CHENEY — Eastern Washington University women’s basketball head coach noted the improvement between Thursday and Saturday games, but it was not enough to snap out of the team’s current four-game losing streak.

The Eagles dropped a of Big Sky Conference contests to Montana State, 73-42 Feb. 11 and 76-64 Feb. 13 at Reese Court.

“We did some things better than we did Thursday, but we have to shoot the ball better, they beat us at our own game – lots of held defense and kicking it out to shooters and we didn’t knock down shots and they did,” head coach Wendy Schuller said.

Eastern (5-9 Big Sky, 6-13 overall) did shoot better down the stretch Saturday, particularly during a span in the fourth quarter when they went on a 14-0 run, but were unable to fully reel in MSU (10-2, 13-5) which held a 60-42 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

Freshman Maisie Burnham was the lone Eagle in double figures, scoring 16 points while adding eight rebounds.

With the wins the Bobcats remained within striking distance of conference leading Idaho State (11-1) with the two meeting this weekend for a pair of contests split between Pocatello and Bozeman.

In Thursday’s meeting an 8-0 Montana State start was not a good sign as Eastern would fail to crack double figures in either quarter of the opening half and trailed 33-12 at the break.

Grace Kirscher led the Eagles in scoring with 12 points, including three three-pointers, but was the only one in double figures.

But the more critical numbers were the 44-34 edge the Bobcats had in rebounding and the Eagles being guilty of 26 turnovers that turned into 26 MSU points.

“We have to be able to take care of the basketball, make shots and defend in transition, those are the big takeaways and I would add rebounding to that,” Schuller said. “To look at all of our missed shots and only see seven offensive rebounds — that shows that we’re not putting much effort going to the glass.”

Another telling group of stats showed Eastern shot just 26.5 percent (13-49) from the field, 28.6 percent from 3-point range (8-28) and 57.1 percent from the free throw line (8-14).

The Eagles wind down the regular season with a home-and-home series against Montana. They face the Griz in Missoula tonight (Thursday, Feb. 18) and return to Cheney Saturday, Feb. 20, for a 12:05 p.m. tipoff at Reese Court.

Paul Delaney is a retired former Free Press Publishing reporter and can be reached at pauldelaney53@comcast.net.

 

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