Eagles ready to rematch Wildcats in first round of the conference tournament

Eagles ready to rematch Wildcats in first round of the conference tournament

It’s dejà vu for the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team. Just over 48 hours after the Eagles hosted Weber State on Saturday (March 9), the two teams will face off again in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament on Monday, March 11, in Boise, Idaho.

The Eagles secured the No. 6 seed after compiling a 9-11 conference mark and finished the regular season 10-19. After yesterday’s 70-66 victory, No. 11 Weber State improved to 6-24 overall and 3-17 in league play.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Pacific time with the winner advancing to play No. 3 Idaho State in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 12 also at 7 p.m. PT. at the CenturyLink Arena.

The first round can be streamed for free on Pluto TV Channel 231 or WatchBigSky.com.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION: For complete information on the tournament, including tickets, a bracket and hotel information, click HERE.

Live stats for all games of the Big Sky Championship can be found at www.bigskystats.com.

All games can be watched for free on Pluto TV Ch. 231 and WatchBigSky.com. Eleven Sports will broadcast the women’s semifinal and championship games. Additionally, live stats can be found on BigSkyStats.com and live in-game updates with video highlights are available by following @EWUWBB on Twitter.

A LOOK AT THE EAGLES: Eastern Washington enters the tournament on a three-game losing streak after dropping to both Idaho State and Weber State during the final home stand of the regular season.

Violet Kapri Morrow leads the Eagles with 18.2 points per game, while also leading the team in both rebounds (6.1) and steals (1.4) per game. The senior, who has 1,291 career points to rank seventh all-time on Eastern’s scoring list, drained 43.5 percent of her shots from the field.

Freshman Grace Kirscher is the other Eagle to average double figures with 10.6 per contest. She also shoots over 40 percent from the field and leads the team with 51 made three-pointers.

As a team, the Eagles have ranked in the top-50 nationally all season long in three-pointers per game. Currently averaging 8.4 per game as a team and shooting 34.3 from deep, Eastern Washington has four players that have made over 40 three-pointers this season. EWU has made at least nine three-pointers in 16 games this season, including seven out of the last nine.

The Eagles average 62.6 points per game while shooting 38.5 percent from the field. They also add 33.8 rebounds, 12.6 assists, 3.7 blocks and 7.1 steals per contest.

Bella Cravens , a freshman, leads the Eagles with 1.6 blocks per game, which is third in the Big Sky and ranks among the top-100 in the nation. She has 45 total blocks on the year which ties for second all-time for total blocks by a freshman in a single season in EWU history. Cravens has blocked at least one shot in 14-straight games and has blocked two or more shots in 12 games this year.

Brittany Klaman leads the team with 2.8 assists per game, followed by Jessica McDowell-White who adds 4.6.

A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Weber State snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over Eastern Washington on Saturday. Besides EWU, the Wildcats have conference wins over Northern Colorado and Southern Utah, both teams that the Eagles split regular season meetings with.

The Wildcats average 62.0 points per game on 37.1 percent accuracy from the field. They average 38.3 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 6.3 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.

Weber State has a trio of double-digit scorers, led by Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman who averages 17.7 points per game. Welch-Coleman scored 10 points against the Eagles on Saturday.

Emily Drake, who added 20 points over the Eagles, averages 12.8 points per game followed by Kayla Watkins who adds 12.1.

Weber State allows their opponents to sink 34.9 percent of their shots from three-point range and the Eagles made 12 of 31 attempts on Saturday.

SERIES HISTORY: Prior to March 9, Eastern Washington had won four-straight over the Wildcats. Although they trail the all-time series, 44-34, the Eagles have won seven out of the last 10 meetings.

Eastern and Weber State have never met in the first round and the Eagles are 1-4 all-time against the Wildcats at the tournament. Monday will be the first post-season meeting between the squads since March 9, 2006 where the No. 4 Eagles were upset by the No. 5 Wildcats in the quarterfinals, 74-69.

Eastern’s last postseason win over WSU ironically came on March 11, 2004 where the No. 6 Eagles defeated No. 3 Weber State by a score of 58-57 in the quarterfinals.

Head coach Wendy Schuller is 21-17 all-time against Weber State and the two teams are 2-2 at neutral venues. From the 2009 to 2015 seasons, Eastern Washington won 14-straight over the Wildcats and have only lost two matchups since then.

LAST TIME OUT: The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team fell to Weber State in its final regular season home game of the 2018-19 season on Saturday (March 9) by a score of 70-66 on Senior Day.

Eastern Washington trailed by four at the end of the first quarter but had a one-point lead at the half. After the third quarter, Eastern led by five but Weber State used a 9-0 run in the fourth and outscored the Eagles 30 to 21 in the final quarter en route to the victory.

With 25.7 seconds left, Violet Kapri Morrow completed the old-fashioned three-point play and the Eagles only trailed by two, 65-63. Down the stretch, Weber State made three of its four free throw attempts to pull ahead 68-63. Howard was clutch from three-point range in the corner again and with 2.6 seconds left she put the Eagles back within two points. Weber State would head to the line one more time and made both free throw attempts and that was the difference maker.

Eastern Washington had four score in double figures, led by Grace Kirscher’s 18-point performance. Kirscher was 7-for-14 from the field and made four of her eight three-point attempts. She also had four rebounds, an assist and led the team with two steals.

Weber State made 12 of its 17 free throw attempts while the Eagles were just 4-for-5. The Wildcats shot 46.3 percent from the field on 25-for-54 shooting and were 8-for-21 from three-point range. The Eagles shot 40.3 percent on 25-for-62 from the field and made 12 of their 31 three-pointers.

1,000-POINTS AND COUNTING: Violet Kapri Morrow reached a special milestone on Senior Day, as she moved into seventh on Eastern’s all-time scoring list. Morrow passes Vanessa Jones (1989-92) and now has 1,291 career points.

Morrow needs 97 more points to move into sixth with at least one game remaining, but is just nine points away from becoming just the seventh Eagle to ever record over 1,300 career points.

She became the 18 th member of Eastern’s 1,000-point club on Jan. 10, 2019 in a road victory at Montana. She began the season in 30 th on the all-time list with 800 points and was the 15 th -fastest member to join the club, needing 106 career games. The Tacoma, Wash., native is the first player to reach the milestone since Delaney Hodgins during the 2016-17 season.

On March 2 at Portland State, Morrow became the eighth player in EWU history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 assists in a career. She now had 511 career rebounds and 147 assists. She is the 11 th player to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

CRASHING THE RECORD BOOKS: From the moment a trio of freshman in Grace Kirscher, Bella Cravens and Jessica McDowell-White stepped on the scene, they’ve been crashing the freshman record book at Eastern Washington.

The trio has a combined 44 starts between the three of them. Grace Kirscher ranks first in three-point attempts (142), second in made three-pointers (51), second in field goal attempts (281), fifth in points per game (10.6), fifth in total points (306), sixth in made field goals (113), ninth in three-point percentage (35.9), 10th in minutes per game (28.5), and is 10 th in steals per game and total steals (34).

Jessica McDowell-White is third in three-point attempts (119), fourth in three-pointers (43), seventh in three-point percentage (36.1), and ninth in assists per game (2.6).

Bella Cravens is second in blocks per game (1.6) and third in total blocks (43) and is 23 rebounds away (113) from cracking the top-ten.

Should Kirscher appear in at least one postseason tournament game, she will tie for 10 th in games played with 30. She has played in 820 total minutes, just five away from cracking the top-ten in that category.

EAGLES IN THE TOURNAMENT: As a No. 6 seed, Eastern is 2-5 all-time and have never faced a No. 11 seed. This is the first-ever first round appearance for the Eagles.

Eastern Washington has not finished lower than a fifth seed since the 2011 season. Additionally, the Eagles finished without double-digit conference wins for the first time since 2011.

This is the 25th Big Sky Tournament appearance for Eastern Washington. The Eagles have advanced to the semifinals in six of the last nine tournaments. They are the only Big Sky team to move into the semifinal round in three of the last four seasons. The Eagles earned a No. 3 seed last season and had an early exit after being upset by No. 6 Portland State in the quarterfinals.

Eastern Washington has won one Big Sky Tournament title in 1987 when the league was still known as the Mountain West Conference. The No. 2 Eagles beat No. 1 Montana to advance to the NCAA Tournament. EWU earned a No. 7 seed and played No. 10 Oregon on March 11 in Eugene and fell 75-56.

Head coach Wendy Schuller , who is the longest tenured Big Sky coach in her 18th season, has won a program-best eight BSC Tournament games. Under Schuller, the Eagles are 8-14 in the tournament with seven semifinal appearances. They have not advanced to the finals since March 12, 1988.