Cheney, Wash. – Junior Hayley Hodgins led five Eagles in double figures with 19 points as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team never trailed en route to a dominating 88-67 win over Southern Utah Thursday, Feb. 19, in a Big Sky Conference contest at Reese Court.
Eastern improves to 9-4 in the Big Sky and 16-8 overall while Southern Utah drops to 5-8 in league play and 12-11 overall.
What It Means
EWU has now won five straight games and seems to be playing its best basketball at the right time. Coupled with Sacramento State's road loss at Northern Colorado tonight, the Eagles now sit in second place in the league standings, just 1.5 games back of first-place Montana, with five games left.
Eastern was in command of the game from the get-go, racing out to a six-point lead on a lay-up from sophomore Jade Redmon four minutes into the game. Another bucket from Redmon, this one at the 16:11 mark, ignited a 10-0 run for the Eagles over the next four minutes that put them up by 16, 23-7.
EWU led by as many as 19 points in the first half behind a blistering 58.3-percent clip from the field. Redmon had 11 points in the opening 20 minutes while Hayley Hodgins and senior Lexie Nelson added 10 points apiece in the first stanza.
The Thunderbirds would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way as the Eagles' lead ballooned to as many as 25 points before settling on the final margin.
Hayley Hodgins' game-high 19 points were just the tip of the iceberg on a night filled with impressive performances. She went 8-fo-14 from the field and knocked down three three-pointers while recording three steals, two assists and two rebounds.
Nelson finished with 15 points, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, and tied her career high with seven assists.
Senior Melissa Williams notched her second consecutive double-double with a 12-point, 10-rebound effort in just 23 minutes of action. She made six of her eight field goal attempts and picked up a pair of steals.
Freshman Delaney Hodgins also registered 12 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
Redmon scored all 11 of her points in the first half, knocking down all four of her shots to go along with two assists and two rebounds.
Sophomore Marly Anderson came off the bench to score eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in 14 minutes of play.
Eastern finished the game shooting 55.0 percent from the field while Southern Utah made just 41.4 percent of its shots on the night, including a 37.5-percent clip in the second half.
EWU outrebounded the Thunderbirds, 40-32, and pulled down 12 offensive rebounds that it turned into 12 second-chance points.
Neither team took care of the ball particularly well as SUU turned the ball over 25 times while the Eagles finished with 22 miscues.
"I thought we came out aggressive from the get-go, and I thought we played really hard. Our players were just flying around and just working. There were a couple of possessions where I looked at Melissa in the paint and she's just battling and working her tail off. That's what I want to see in this team. When we play hard, we're pretty good. We've done a nice job of getting back to being that team that plays hard. If we do that, I'll always say, 'Let the chips fall where they may,' but we're not going to go down without that fight in us. It was really good to see that tonight.
"I didn't think we did a great job taking care of the ball, and we had some offensive fouls that obviously are turnovers, so it would be nice if that number was a little lower. We played a pretty up-tempo game tonight, though, and tried to really push the tempo as much as we could, and you're going to have some turnovers playing that like that."
* EWU has now won its last three meetings with Southern Utah at Reese Court, and four of the last five encounters in Cheney.
* Williams picked up her 67th career win tonight, tying the record for the most wins under head coach Wendy Schuller. The 2012-13 graduating class finished their respective careers with 67 victories.
* Nelson moved into fourth all-time on Eastern's career scoring list, passing Vanessa Jones. She now has 1,292 career points in 86 career games.
* Nelson also made her 300th career free throw tonight, becoming just the third player in EWU's NCAA Division I history to reach that plateau.
Tweet of the Game
The Eagles conclude the week at home against Northern Arizona this Saturday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. PT.