Cheney, Wash. - A strong defensive effort and an impressive individual display from senior Hayley Hodgins led the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team to a 64-40 victory over visiting Eastern Oregon in its season opener Friday afternoon, Nov. 13.
With the win, Eastern improves to 1-0 on the young season while Eastern Oregon drops to 0-3 with the loss.
The Eagles got off to a fast start, opening up a 21-8 advantage after the first quarter before taking a 10-point lead into intermission. EWU shot 38.5 percent from the field in the first half while holding the Mountaineers to 25.0 percent from the floor. Eastern's defense also forced 14 turnovers over the opening two quarters, resulting in 15 points.
In the third quarter, Eastern dominated the paint, with 16 points compared to only six for Eastern Oregon. This run was assisted by the work of Hayley Hodgins, who scored eight straight in the final minutes of the quarter to extend their lead to 48-31. From here on out, the game remained unreachable for the visitors, as the Eagles shot a fantastic 48.1 percent from the field in the second half, while holding the Mountaineers to only 22.7 percent.
Hayley Hodgins led the entire team with 24 points on 10-22 shooting. She added four makes from beyond the arc on 10 attempts, and also tallied five rebounds and five steals.
Sophomore Delaney Hodgins ended the game with 13 points on an efficient five for eight from the field, with an additional six boards and two steals.
Junior Tisha Phillips made her impact on the defensive side of the ball, notching four steals and a block.
Freshman Alissa Sealby came off the bench to record eight points and five boards in her first collegiate game.
EWU 43.4 percent (23-53) from the field compared to only 23.8 percent for Eastern Oregon, who finished the day with just 10 made field goals.
Eastern turned the ball over 10 less times then the Mountaineers, with 14 total compared to their 24. Out of those miscues, 17 were steals credited to the Eagles, as they played stellar defense, forcing mistakes all game.
Quoting Coach Schuller
"I thought we played hard defensively. We weren't always perfect, but having as many young players as we did on the floor, they did a nice job of communicating and making some adjustments.
"This was our first real game of the year, and I think that showed in a lot of ways. Our young players did a really nice job of stepping up. I've said from day one, I love the mentality of our team and the eagerness to work and to learn, and I thought today showed that."
Hayley Hodgins' 24 points move her into sixth all-time on EWU's NCAA Division I career scoring list with 1,209 career points. Dating back to last season, she has now scored in double figures in 17 straight games.
Eastern improved to 107-13 all-time under head coach Wendy Schuller when holding opponents to under 60 points.
With its first official game in the books, EWU will prepare for its second game this weekend, on Sunday, Nov. 15, when Air Force comes into town. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. PST at Reese Court.