Portland, Ore. – Senior Melissa Williams paced four Eagles in double figures with 20 points as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team led for the final 37 minutes en route to a 77-63 victory over host Portland State Saturday, Feb. 14, in a Big Sky Conference game at the Peter W. Stott Center.
Eastern improves to 8-4 in the Big Sky and 15-8 overall while Portland State drops to 1-12 in conference action and 3-21 overall.
What It Means
The Eagles have now won four straight games and are currently the hottest team in the league. Coupled with other results in contests played today, EWU moved into third place and is just one-half game back of second place and 1.5 games behind league-leading Montana.
Eastern also secured the Dam Cup with the victory, winning the competition, 10-7. EWU has now won the trophy in two of the last three seasons.
The two teams went back and forth in the early going, changing leads four times before a jumper from Williams gave Eastern a 7-6 lead at the 16:29 mark. That bucket ignited a 14-2 run over the next five minutes and the Eagles never looked back from there.
EWU would lead by as many as 30 points before the Vikings used a late surge to trim Eastern's advantage down the stretch.
Williams registered 20 points for the first time this season, going 9-of-13 from the floor while pulling down 10 rebounds to complete a double-double.
Senior Lexie Nelson and sophomore Jade Redmon both finished with 13 points apiece. Redmon added five rebounds and three assists to her stat line while Nelson knocked down a pair of three-pointers and dished out four assists.
Junior Hayley Hodgins chipped in 11 points and came up with four rebounds and two steals.
Freshman Marly Anderson came off the bench to record eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes of action.
Eastern's big lead allowed head coach Wendy Schuller to rest her starters and give the Eagles' reserves some vital experience as 11 different EWU players saw time in the game. No Eagle played more than 30 minutes and six bench players recorded at least 10 minutes of time.
EWU shot 48.4 percent from the field and held Portland State to a 39.6-percent clip on the day. Eastern struggled uncharacteristically from the foul line, shooting 12-of-12 for its worst percentage of the season (57.1 pct).
The Eagles outrebounded PSU, 41-34, and pulled down 13 offensive rebounds.
Eastern turned the ball over just 10 times while scoring 24 points off of the Vikings' 16 miscues.
"Both teams were exchanging baskets to start the game, but we got in a groove defensively and started getting stops, which got our offense going. We got a lot of points in transition that were keyed by some defensive stops. Everyone did their job today, and I thought we were very efficient and were especially good defensively.
"Heading into the final three weeks of games, we need to continue to emphasis the things we've been focusing on. We need to continue being really solid defensively and coming up with stops when we need them. Offensively, we've been a lot better and are sharing the ball and playing to each other's strengths. We need to continue to do those things."
* Today's victory, coupled with last Thursday's win at Sacramento State, gives the Eagles their second road sweep of the year. Eastern has recorded two Big Sky road sweeps in the same season just five times in program history. The last time EWU had two road sweeps in the same season was 2011-12, and the Eagles have never had three Big Sky road sweeps.
* Williams won her 66th game in an Eastern uniform and now sits one victory shy of tying the record for most career wins for a player during head coach Wendy Schuller's tenure. The senior class that graduated following the 2012-13 season finished with 67 career wins.
* EWU recorded 40 points in the paint for the second straight game and just the third time this season.
Tweet of the Game
The Eagles return home to face Southern Utah on Thursday, Feb. 19. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. PT.