Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team exploded for 45 points in the second half en route to a convincing 72-58 victory over visiting Montana State in a Big Sky Conference game at Reese Court Saturday, Feb. 7.
Eastern improves to 6-4 in league play and 13-8 overall while Montana State falls to 4-7 in conference action and 10-12 overall.
What It Means
The victory, coupled with EWU's win over Montana on Thursday night, gives the Eagles a home sweep of the Montana schools for the second straight season and just the sixth time in program history.
Eastern's men's basketball team also recorded victories over both Montana and Montana State this weekend, giving EWU its first 4-0 sweep of the Montana schools in school history.
The win also puts the Eagles in sole possession of fourth place in the Big Sky standings after entering the week in a three-way tie for fifth.
Montana State took a one-point lead into halftime after a back-and-forth first half that featured nine lead changes and three ties. Eastern struggled from the field over the opening 20 minutes, shooting just 35.3 percent while the Bobcats connected at a 50.0-percent clip in the opening stanza.
The Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half, using a jumper from senior Melissa Williams to ignite a game-changing 16-5 run over the next four minutes to take a 43-32 lead. The Bobcats would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way as EWU shot a blistering 53.8 percent over the final 20 minutes, outscoring MSU by 15 points en route to victory.
Sophomore Jade Redmon led four Eagles in double figures with a team-high 22 points, going 7-of-9 from the field while making both of her three-point tries and all six of her free throw attempts. She added five rebounds, two assists and two steals to her impressive stat line.
Senior Lexie Nelson scored all 14 of her points in the second half, knocking down four three-pointers while dishing out three assists.
Junior Hayley Hodgins added 12 points and four rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end, while freshman Delaney Hodgins chipped in 11 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Williams led all players with 11 rebounds and added seven points, three assists and four steals.
Sophomore Tisha Phillips came off the bench to record five rebounds, two points and two assists while committing no turnovers in 19 minutes of action.
Eastern made eight three-pointers on the day, including a 7-of-9 performance from beyond the arc in the second half. Montana State connected on four of its 10 tries from long range.
EWU outrebounded the Bobcats, 34-29, and limited MSU to just five offensive rebounds. The Eagles notched 15 second chance points while Montana State recorded just five second chance points.
Eastern turned Montana State's 20 turnovers into 21 points while the Bobcats scored 12 points off of the Eagles' 12 miscues.
"During halftime, we talked about defense and a couple of little things we needed to make sure we continued to do. We needed to keep limiting post touches as much as we could, and we made some adjustments on their personnel. We also talked about our offense. I thought we were getting really good looks on that end of the floor in the first half, and I told the team to continue to work because we're too good of a shooting team not to shoot it better in the second half, and that's pretty much what we did."
* The last time EWU recorded home wins over Montana State and Montana in the same weekend in two consecutive seasons was back in 1985 and 1986.
* EWU has now won seven of its last nine meetings with Montana State.
* The Eagles won for the second straight time in Big Sky play after being tied or losing at the half. Eastern was 0-4 in league games when tied or trailing at halftime entering this week.
* Redmon fell one point shy of her career high, but has scored in double figures in EWU's last five games, and nine of the last 10.
* Williams recorded double digit rebounds for the 11th time this season. Eastern is 8-3 when she pulls down at least 10 rebounds.
Tweet of the Game
EWU hits the road for a pair of Big Sky contests beginning this Thursday, Feb. 12, at Sacramento State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.