Missoula, Mont. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team scored used a big first half to propel itself to a convincing 73-57 victory over Northern Arizona in the first round of the 2015 Big Sky Tournament Wednesday, Mar., 11 at Dahlberg Arena.
Eastern improves to 20-10 on the year while Northern Arizona's season ends with a 13-17 overall record.
What It Means
The victory is significant for a handful of reasons. It gave EWU 20 wins in a season for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign and just the third time in the program's 33-year NCAA Division I history. Head coach Wendy Schuller's previous high was 19 victories, which she had done three times, including this season.
The Eagles also move on to the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament for the second time in three years.
Eastern wasted little time asserting itself, scoring the first six points of the game before a jumper from sophomore Tisha Phillips gave the Eagles a 10-point edge, 19-9, at the 11:36 mark. EWU would score nine of the next 11 points over the next five minutes, expanding its lead to 17, 28-11.
A jumper from sophomore Jade Redmon at the 4:40 mark spotted Eastern a 20-point cushion before a three-pointer from junior Hayley Hodgins gave the Eagles their largest lead of the game, 40-14, with 3:18 on the clock.
The Lumberjacks came out strong in the second half, using a 7-2 run to trim EWU's advantage to 17, 44-27, at the 17:18 mark. NAU continued to chip away at Eastern's significant advantage, but each time it seemed poised to make a run, the Eagles had an answer. Northern Arizona would get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way as EWU held on for the win.
Hayley Hodgins led all scorers with 22 points, tying her career high with four made three-pointers on five attempts. She also pulled down eight rebounds to go along with five assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Redmon notched her fourth career double-double, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds, adding six assists and two steals to her impressive stat line. She went 7-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
Senior Melissa Williams fell one rebound shy of her third consecutive double-double, recording 12 points and nine boards. She made six of her nine shots from the field and added two assists and one steal.
Phillips came off the bench to register four points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 15 minutes of action.
The Eagles had a significant advantage on the glass, outrebounding NAU, 42-31, while pulling down 15 offensive rebounds to the Lumberjacks' six. EWU finished with 12 second-chance points while Northern Arizona scored just three second-chance points.
NAU turned the ball over 19 times while the Eagles committed 11 miscues. EWU outscored Northern Arizona, 20-10, in points off turnovers.
* Eastern is now a perfect 2-0 against Northern Arizona in Big Sky Tournament games. It's first win, a 70-57 triumph, came in Ogden, Utah, back on Mar. 7, 2002.
* EWU is now 8-9 all-time in Big Sky Tournament contests played in Missoula, Mont.
* Hayley Hodgins moved into seventh on Eastern's career NCAA Division I scoring list with her 22-point effort. She now has 1,153 career points in 91 career games.
* Williams' nine rebounds lifted her to third all-time on EWU's NCAA DI single-season rebounding list. She has now pulled down 286 rebounds this season, the most by an Eagle in one season since Brenda Souther finished the 1983-84 season with 290 rebounds.
Tweet of the Game
The Eagles will play the winner of the final first round game between top-seeded Montana and No. 8 Idaho State this Friday, Mar. 13. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m. PT.