Sacramento, Calif. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team was denied a school-record 22nd win Monday night, Mar. 23, and saw its 2014-15 campaign come to a close, falling at Sacramento State, 84-49, in the second round of the WNIT.
Eastern ends its season with a 21-12 overall record while Sacramento State improves to 18-15 and advances to the third round of the WNIT.
What It Means
The loss concludes one of the best seasons in the program's 33-year NCAA Division I history. EWU tied a record with 21 victories, the most since the 1983-84 season, and won its first-ever postseason game, topping Washington State in the first round of the WNIT last Wednesday, Mar. 18.
Tonight's game also wraps up the stellar careers of seniors Lexie Nelson and Melissa Williams. Nelson will leave Eastern fourth all-time in scoring with 1,388 career points while her two made three-pointers tonight moved her into first all-time with 204 career triples.
Williams appeared in 122 career games, tied for the most all-time, and has cemented her status as one of the program's best-ever rebounders, ranking second all-time with 832 boards.
After trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Eagles cut the Hornets' lead to 10, 38-28, heading into intermission. EWU's strong end to the opening stanza would come face-to-face with a Sacramento State team who came out of the locker room with a renewed sense of aggression, reeling off the first seven points of the second half before head coach Wendy Schuller called timeout.
The Eagles opened the second half going 2-of-12 from the field while Sacramento State made seven of its first 14 shots, including a pair of three-pointers. The Hornets kept their full-court press on for the rest of the way, leading by as many as 38 points before settling on the final 35-point margin.
Nelson led four Eagles in double figures with 12 points, knocking down two three-pointers while coming up with five steals and three rebounds.
Freshman Delaney Hodgins registered 11 points to go along with two blocked shots, two assists and two boards.
Williams and junior Hayley Hodgins chipped in 10 points apiece while Williams pulled down eight rebounds.
Eastern turned the ball over a season-high 33 times, the most in a game under Schuller since EWU had 33 miscues in a 56-62 loss at Portland State on Feb. 11, 2006. Sacramento State recorded 41 points off of the Eagles' turnovers on the night while Eastern turned the Hornets' 23 turnovers into just 16 points.
The hosts outrebounded EWU, 51-34, and pulled down 17 offensive rebounds to the Eagles' seven despite shooting 45.5 percent from the field. Sacramento State corralled 47.2 percent of its missed shots while Eastern grabbed 20.0 percent of its missed shots.
Sacramento State also made nine three-pointers while EWU buried three shots from long range.
"We did not handle their pressure. We knew what to expect for sure, but we didn't handle it as well as we have in the past. It didn't help that we didn't shoot the ball well. That didn't help our confidence at all. We just weren't ourselves tonight.
"We were pretty quick in the locker room because tonight was not who we are. You have to give Sacramento State credit. Those kids play really hard and they played well tonight and we didn't play our best. Moving past that, I told the team that this loss can't define our season. Our season was historic, and we had seniors and leaders on our team that made history. We should be really proud of that. We want to get better and we want to do more, but what we did this season is a huge step for our program. We had wins over Florida, Wichita State and Washington State, and that's what we want to look back on and remember. Our kids played hard all year, and you hate to go down this way but for almost everyone, you're not going to feel good at the end of your season. I wish we would have played better tonight, but we did too many good things this year to hang our heads."
* Tonight was Eastern's first loss by more than 30 points since losing to California, 91-58, back on Nov. 23, 2012.
* Hayley Hodgins finishes the season with 538 points, good for third-most all-time. She currently ranks seventh all-time in school history with 1,185 career points and needs 537 points in her final season to become the program's all-time leading scorer.
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