Cheney, Wash. - While shooting over 50 percent the entire game, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team kept pace with visiting Boise State, but ultimately fell 79-84 in the hard-fought match on Monday, Dec. 21.
EWU drops to 6-6 with the loss, while Boise State improves to 7-4 with the win.
After shooting 53.3 percent in the first half, the Eagles were trailing 36-37 going stride for stride with Boise State. However, the third quarter began sloppy with Eastern turning the ball over four times within the first four minutes, allowing the Broncos to pull ahead to their largest lead, 50-39. But the quarter did not end the way it started, as EWU began a strong scoring push, shooting 81 percent through the third, and bringing the BSU lead down to 57-62.
The majority of the fourth quarter saw the Eagles continue to match Boise State point for point in an attempt to close the small margin between them. The team's effort was punctuated by a clutch three pointer from senior Hayley Hodgins that brought the score to 69-71 in favor of BSU with 4:42 left in the game. However, second chance opportunities and some well-timed three pointers lifted the Broncos to a lead they wouldn't surrender, as Eastern struggled to maintain enough momentum for the comeback.
Hayley Hodgins led the team in scoring with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting. She added on three blocks and two steals.
Junior Ashli Payne scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. She led the team with eight rebounds, and three assists.
Sophomore Delaney Hodgins scored 18 points on 7-of-10, and grabbed five rebounds as well.
The EWU shot 56.6 percent on the game, while Boise State shot 40.3 percent.
The Broncos controlled the offensive glass, collecting 17 offensive rebounds resulting in 15 second chance points. The Eagles finished with four offensive rebounds, and four second chance points.
BSU ended with more overall scoring opportunities then Eastern, finishing with 67 attempted field goals compared to 53 for EWU.
The Eagles turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 18 Boise State points off the miscues. The Broncos turned the ball over 16 times, resulting in 20 points off the mistakes for Eastern.
Quoting Coach Schuller
"I was proud of our effort. I thought there were a couple of times that we got down and could have thrown in the towel seeing as we were shorthanded, but our players stepped up and made plays. We played extremely hard. We didn't play perfect basketball and had some things going against us in a lot of aspects, but I'm happy with our intensity level more than anything. We had some players play a lot of minutes who don't typically have to, which is good for them and will make us better down the stretch. Hopefully we can get back to being full strength, and if we can combine it with that kind of effort, I think we'll be in good shape."
Hayley Hodgins has now scored in double figures in 28 straight games dating back to last season, and has 75 career games of at least 10 points. She now has 1,430 career points in 106 career appearances, good for fifth all time in career scoring.
The Eagles begin conference play in their next game at home against Northern Colorado on New Year's Eve, Thursday, Dec. 31. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. PST at Reese Court.