Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team had one of its best seasons in its 33-year NCAA Division I history in 2014-15, tying the record for victories in a season and recording its first-ever postseason win as a DI member.
Eastern's 21 wins are tied for the most victories in a season, matching the Eagles' 21 triumphs during the 1983-84 campaign. Head coach Wendy Schuller, who completed her 14th year at the helm this past season and had guided EWU to three of its five 19-win seasons prior to this season, led Eastern to at least 20 wins for just the third time in the program's DI history.
The Eagles also made their third appearance in the WNIT under Schuller, and the second in the last three seasons. Eastern won its first-ever postseason game, topping Pac-12 member Washington State, 67-65, in Pullman, Wash., in the first round. EWU's season would end in a WNIT second-round defeat at Big Sky Conference foe Sacramento State.
Along with its triumph over the Cougars, Eastern recorded a number of impressive victories on the season. The Eagles topped eventual Missouri Valley regular season and tournament champion Wichita State, 86-58, on Nov. 14, before traveling to Gainesville, Fla., where it beat host Florida, 67-56. It was the program's first-ever win over an SEC team.
A prolific offensive team, Eastern set a new DI program record with 2,282 points, besting the previous high mark of 2,205 points back during the 1983-84 campaign. EWU finished the year ranked second in the Big Sky in field goal percentage (43.4 pct) and first in both three-point percentage (34.2 pct) and free throw percentage (76.0 pct). The Eagles' clip from the charity stripe was also good for 12th nationally.
EWU had another successful Big Sky campaign, winning 12 league games and qualifying for the conference tournament for the sixth straight year. Eastern is one of only four teams to qualify for the league tournament every year in that span. The Eagles cruised past Northern Arizona, 73-57, in the first round before falling to top seed and host Montana, 55-51, in the semifinals.
Each of the Eagles' five starters earned awards from the Big Sky, highlighted by junior Hayley Hodgins' first team all-league selection. Seniors Lexie Nelson and Melissa Williams were both Second Team All-Big Sky picks while sophomore Jade Redmon was named Honorable Mention All-Big Sky. Freshman Delaney Hodgins rounded out the group, earning Outstanding Freshman honors.
Both Nelson and Hayley Hodgins eclipsed the 1,000 point marks this past season while Hodgins completed a tremendous season across the board. She poured in 538 points, tied for third all-time, while her scoring average of 16.3 points per game is good for eighth. She made 205 field goals, good for fifth all-time, while her 52 made three-pointers are tied for 12th all-time. She also racked up 55 steals, good for ninth all-time.
Nelson finished her collegiate career fourth all-time on Eastern's DI career scoring list with 1,388 career points in just three seasons in Cheney. Her career scoring average of 14.6 points per game is good for third all-time. Arguably the greatest three-point shooter to don an EWU uniform, she leaves atop the three-pointers made list (204 3FG) while her clip of 38.8 percent from three-point range ranks second all-time. She also sits atop the Eagles' free throw percentage list with a career clip of 85.4 percent. She is also one of just three Eastern players to make at least 300 career free throws, ranking third all-time with 322 made shots from the charity stripe.
Williams capped her four-year career with a stellar senior season, averaging career highs in scoring (10.4 ppg), rebounding (9.5 rpg), assists (2.0 apg), blocked shots (0.9 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). She led the Big Sky in rebounding and recorded 12 double-doubles, seven more than she had in her previous three seasons. Williams departs Cheney tied atop the career games played list with 122 career appearances. She also ranks second all-time with 832 career rebounds, eighth with 86 career blocks and tied for 10th with 128 career steals.