Eagle women fall just short to Southern Utah
CHENEY, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team hosted Southern Utah on Thursday night (Feb. 27) at Reese Court. The Eagles trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter and cut their deficit to one point with less than a minute remaining, but dropped the match up by a final score of 70-67.
Eastern Washington had four score in double figures, led by Bella Cravens who turned in her second-straight double-double with 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Kennedy Dickie also scored a career-high 20 points and added seven boards. Jessica McDowell-White also earned a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists, while Grace Kirscher rounded out the scoring with 10 points.
“I’m proud of our team for battling back and not laying down when we had a tough quarter on the defensive end. We could’ve laid down when we went down by 12, but we kept fighting and battling and we made some plays. All of a sudden, the juices start flowing and you realize you have a chance,” said head coach Wendy Schuller. “I’m proud of them for putting us into a position to get the game into overtime, but the shot was just short.”
The Eagles opened the game on a 7-0 run, holding Southern Utah without any points until the 5:11 mark of the first quarter and without any field goals until 4:50. The Thunderbirds went 0-7 for their first attempts from the field, but tied the game 7-7 after the Eagles fell scoreless for 5:17.
Bella Cravens snapped the lull with her sixth points of the quarter, and Eastern closed the period on a 7-1 run to lead 14-8 after the first 10 minutes. Southern Utah went without a field goal for the final 4:12, as the Eagles held them to just 14.3 percent from the field during the early goings.
The Thunderbirds chipped away at their deficit, outscoring the Eagles 18-8 in the second quarter. SUU took their first lead of the game with 1:46 left in the half, using an 8-0 run in the process. The run would stretch to 11-0 as the Eagles were held scoreless for the final 4:23 of the quarter to trail 26-22 at the half.
After Southern Utah scored four-straight points to carry its run into the third quarter, Jessica McDowell-White finally snapped the scoring lull to put the Eagles back within five. The two sides exchanged points, but Eastern Washington could never come within four as SUU built its largest lead of the night, 44-34. From there, Eastern went 6-for-8 from the field to cut the lead back down to five points. However, the Thunderbirds used an 8-0 scoring run to go up by 13, 52-39. Eastern Washington outscored SUU 5-2 in the final minutes, but trailed 54-44 going into the fourth.
After falling behind 63-51, the Eagles used a 6-3 run to cut the deficit down to five points with 2:47 remaining, followed by a McDowell-White layup that trimmed SUU’s lead to four points with 2:12 left. Neither team would score until 45.2 seconds remained and Grace Kirscher nailed a corner three-pointer to make it a one-point game, 66-65.
After the Thunderbirds sunk two free throw attempts to pull back ahead 68-65, it was Jenna Dick’s turn to head to the line. She made both attempts, but the Thunderbirds responded with two made free throws of their own to pull back ahead, 70-67. With a second on the clock, Kirscher took the three-point attempt that took an unlucky bounce off the front of the rim and the Eagles came up short in another comeback victory attempt.