Eagles Pick Up Big Win At Montana
MISSOULA, Mont. — For only the fifth time in program history, the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team topped the Montana Grizzlies on the road in Missoula on Thursday night (Feb. 15). The win was even more special, as it marked head coach Wendy Schuller ‘s 250th career victory at Eastern.
“I’m really proud of our team tonight. We had a lot of elements going against us all night and I thought our team was gritty and resilient for 40 minutes,” said Schuller. “Montana played well and kept hitting big shots and we responded each time. And, to end our game and find out the men won made the night that much sweeter.”
The Eagles led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter, but hung on to a 75-72 victory that was close until the final seconds. Eastern Washington was led by three in double figures in Delaney Hodgins (24), Symone Starks (15) and Violet Kapri Morrow (14). Uriah Howard added nine points, while Hodgins grabbed seven rebounds.
As a team, the Eagles knocked down 11 three-pointers, shooting 52.4 percent from behind the arc on the night with Hodgins and Starks each draining three apiece. From the field, the Eagles shot 47.3 percent on 26-for-55 shooting to go along with 17 assists. They also had 14 steals.
Foul trouble riddled the Eagles, who committed 28 on the night and allowed Montana to make 19-for-31 from the line. The Griz shot 48 percent from the field, but only 9.1 percent (1-11) from behind the arc.
Eastern’s offensive exploded in the first quarter, going on a 14-4 run on 6-for-7 shooting to lead by 10 early on. The Eagles held Montana without a field goal for the final eight minutes of quarter and shot 64 percent from the field.
Montana would heat up in the second quarter, cutting Eastern’s lead to single digits before the Eagles went on a 5-0 spurt. The Grizzlies took 20 free throw attempts in the first half, as 14 of their 30 first half points were from the charity stripe. Montana hit 5-for-5 from field goal range, but the Eagles’ 11 steals helped them carry a 34-30 lead into the locker room.
The Eagles drained five three pointers during the third quarter to help keep Montana away. The Griz used an 8-0 run early in the third quarter, but the Eagles were able to keep them without a field goal for the final three minutes to lead by 10 with one quarter to go.
Montana clawed back in the fourth, using a 6-0 run to come within one point. However, they would go cold on 1-for-7 shooting while Eastern shot 50 percent from the field. Leading 75-70 with five seconds to go, UM capitalized on a jumper but the late comeback wasn’t enough as the Eagles picked up the crucial Big Sky Conference road victory.