Cheney, Wash. – Senior Melissa Williams buried a turnaround jumper in the paint with 27 seconds left before freshman Delaney Hodgins came up with a big defensive rebound as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team survived a furious rally from visiting Idaho State to win, 62-58, in a Big Sky Conference game Thursday, Mar. 5, at Reese Court.
Eastern improves to 11-6 in Big Sky play and 18-10 overall while Idaho State drops to 8-9 in conference action and 13-15 overall.
What It Means
The win puts EWU in a tie for third place in the league standings with Northern Colorado heading into the final day of the regular season on Saturday. UNC holds the tiebreaker over the Eagles, however, so if the Big Sky Tournament started tomorrow, Eastern would be the No. 4 seed.
The Big Sky Tournament picture is nearly complete as Northern Arizona clinched its place in the eight-team tournament after beating Portland State tonight. Two spots remain up for grabs and will come down to Montana State, Idaho State and Idaho.
EWU led for the first 34 minutes of the contest before the Bengals used a 10-5 run to take its first lead of the game, 49-48, at the 4:59 mark of the second half. A three-point play from sophomore Jade Redmon put Eastern back in front before a triple from junior Hayley Hodgins gave the Eagles a five-point edge, 54-49, with 3:12 left.
ISU pulled to within two twice more, the second time coming with just 1:04 remaining in the game. The visitors committed a foul in the backcourt while trying to press the Eagles, and senior Lexie Nelson drained a pair of free throws to put EWU on top, 60-56, with 1:02 left. The Bengals' Anna Lee Policicchio converted a jumper on Idaho State's next possession, putting the pressure on Eastern to score on its next trip down the court.
After using much of the shot clock, senior Melissa Williams hit a turnaround jumper in the paint with 27 ticks remaining to spot the Eagles a four-point edge, 62-58. Idaho State missed two chances on its next possession before freshman Delaney Hodgins secured a crucial defensive rebound with 14 seconds left. After Redmon was fouled, she missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but the Bengals turned it over with one second left as EWU held on for the win.
Hayley Hodgins paced four Eagles in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, burying three three-pointers and all four of her free throws. She added two rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal to her stat line.
Nelson finished with 14 points, going 5-of-11 from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. She also dished out three assists.
Williams registered her 11th double-double of the season, scoring 13 points while pulling down 10 rebounds to go along with three steals.
Delaney Hodgins did a little bit of everything for Eastern, recording 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.
Eastern outscored Idaho State 15-9 from the free throw line as both teams shot nearly identical field goal and three-point percentages on the night.
The Bengals outrebounded the Eagles, 38-27, and scored 10 seconds chance points to EWU's six.
Eastern turned 22 ISU turnovers into 23 points while Idaho State registered 15 points on 16 miscues by the Eagles.
"Getting the win tonight was good for us. It was great to see us make big shots down the stretch, get some big stops late, and make clutch free throws. Delaney went up and got a huge rebound, Melissa hit a big shot and Hayley had a couple of key three-pointers. Everyone did things in those last three or four minutes that put us in a position to win. It was a good win for us moving forward."
* Hayley Hodgins moved into the top 10 in career scoring on Eastern's NCAA Division I scoring list with her 19 points tonight. She now has 1,113 career points, good for ninth all-time.
* Williams recorded double figure rebounds for the 16th time this season and the 26th time in her career.
* Eastern swept the season series from Idaho State for the second time in the last three years.
Tweet of the Game
The Eagles close out their regular season against Weber State this Saturday, Mar. 7. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. PT, and Nelson and Williams will be honored before tipoff.