Spokane, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team was within nine of host Gonzaga at the start of the fourth quarter before falling to the Bulldogs, 78-56, in a nonconference game Thursday night, Nov. 19.
The loss drops EWU to 2-1 on the year while Gonzaga improves to 2-1.
The Eagles outplayed the Bulldogs for stretches over the first three quarters, taking a 14-10 lead after the opening 10 minutes and was within seven, 32-25, at the half. GU led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but Eastern closed the period on a 7-2 run to cut the hosts' lead to nine, 52-43.
Five points from junior Ashli Payne brought EWU to within seven, 55-48, early in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs answered with a bucket, but a three-point play from sophomore Delaney Hodgins saw the Eagles pull to within six, 57-51, at the 7:08 mark. GU continued to pound the ball inside, going up 10, 61-51, before senior Hayley Hodgins nailed a jumper to cut the Bulldogs' lead to eight, 61-53, with 5:52 left.
Eastern would go the next four minutes without a basket, however, as Gonzaga reeled off 14 straight points to take a 75-53 lead with 2:09 remaining. Hayley Hodgins completed a three-point play at the 1:53 mark to stop the run, but there was too little time left for the Eagles to make a comeback.
Delaney Hodgins led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. She added four steals and three rebounds to her stat line.
Hayley Hodgins was the only other Eagle in double figures with 14 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals.
EWU shot 36.8 percent as a team while Gonzaga shot 50.9 percent from the field on the night. Eastern was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line while the Bulldogs made 13 of their 19 attempts from the charity stripe.
GU pulled down 40 rebounds to the Eagles' 25 boards and kept Eastern off the offensive glass, limiting EWU to eight offensive boards. The Bulldogs finished with 23 second-chance points compared to six for Eastern.
The Eagles turned the ball over 17 times but forced Gonzaga into 16 miscues. Eastern turned the Bulldogs' mistakes into 14 points while the hosts scored 23 points off of EWU's turnovers.
Quoting Coach Schuller
"I thought our team played extremely hard, and I'm really proud of our effort. We had some players play a lot of minutes and expend a lot of energy, and I think it caught up to us in the final four or five minutes of the game. I can't ask for a team that will play any harder than this group.
Gonzaga is a really good defensive team, and we knew that coming in. Against a team like that, you have to execute offensively. I didn't think our execution was great, and part of that is inexperience, but I put it on myself for not having us better prepared offensively."
Dating back to last season, Hayley Hodgins has now scored in double figures in 19 straight games. She now has 1,243 career points and moved to within 47 points of fifth all-time on Eastern's NCAA Division I career scoring list.
EWU returns home to host CSUN this Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m. PST.