Eagles win sixth straight over Montana in Saturday afternoon thriller at Rees Court
CHENEY, Wash. — For the sixth-straight time, the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team defeated Montana on Saturday (Feb. 9) in a Big Sky Conference game at Reese Court by a score of 67-64.
The game saw 11 lead changes and six ties and was closely contested all the way to the finish. Violet Kapri Morrow , who led the team with 25 points and seven rebounds, scored the game-winning layup with 39 seconds left and Alissa Sealby sank both free throw attempts with six seconds remaining to help lead the Eagles to victory.
In the fourth quarter alone, Eastern shot 50 percent from the field (6-12) and held the Griz to just 25 percent (3-12) after they shot over 46 percent in the third.
“First, I am really thankful for everyone who came out today with the weather being rough right now. I know it took something to face that, so I am really appreciative. I’m also proud of our effort, we played hard,” said head coach Wendy Schuller . “We got off to a slow start and I wasn’t sure if we were going to show up. We were able to bring in players off of the bench who brought us energy and once we overcame that it was a neck-and-neck game.”
Montana scored 13 unanswered points as the Eagles struggled to get going offensively, missing their first eight shots. Morrow snapped the drought with a three-pointer at the 3:15 mark and it sparked a 5-0 run for Eastern Washington, but the Eagles still trailed 17-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“I don’t think we expected them to come at us as hard as they did. It was kind of a punch to the face and it took us a while to get going,” said Schuller of the sluggish start. “We were kind of going through the motions offensively, but our bench gave us a spark and got us going and we were okay from there.”
The Eagles chipped away at their deficit during the second quarter, shooting 52.9 percent on 9-for-17 from the field including 60 percent from three-point range with three triples. Amira Chandler completed the old-fashioned three-point play to put the Eagles within three points, 19-16. After Uriah Howard drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one point, 25-24, Morrow would cash in her 10 th points of the day from the paint to give the Eagles their first lead of the contest, 28-27. Eastern Washington built its largest lead of three points, 33-30, but the Griz closed on a 4-0 run to lead 34-33 at the half.
Eastern Washington shot 33.3 percent in the third quarter coming out of the half while the Griz were able to make 46.2 percent of their shots. After the Griz used a 6-0 run to lead 45-39, the Eagles went on an 11-3 scoring run and worked to even the contest after Morrow hit a three-pointer. McDowell-White sank both free throw attempts to tie the game 51-51 with seconds remaining, but Montana hit a three-pointer as time expired to lead 54-51.
EWU came out hot in the fourth quarter and used an 8-0 run over 1:25 of play to lead 61-56. Montana broke through and responded with a 6-0 run to take the 62-61 lead back. The two teams traded leads throughout the remainder of the fourth quarter. After Uriah Howard grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up for two points, Montana took the 64-62 lead back with a minute left.
With 39 seconds on the clock, Morrow capitalized with a layup to give the Eagles a 65-64 lead. Alissa Sealby , who has not missed a free throw yet in conference play, headed to the line with 6.3 seconds left and made both free throws to extend Eastern’s cushion to three points, 67-64. Montana’s attempt at a last second shot fell short as the Eagles won their sixth straight over the Griz by a final score of 67-64.
“It was a good, clean, basketball game and both teams played hard. Montana is a physical team and we knew they were going to score in the paint and that was a point of emphasis for us,” added Schuller. “We found things offensively that worked for us in the second half and the players did a great job executing the game plan.”
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: With the win, the Eagles improve to 6-15 and 5-7 in conference play. The Griz fall to 10-11 overall and 5-7 in the Big Sky.
The victory marks the sixth-straight over the Griz. Eastern earns the season sweep after defeating Montana in Missoula back on Jan. 10, 2019 by a score of 68-62. The Eagles still trail the all-time series 18-64, but have also won six-straight over UM at Reese Court dating back to Jan. 3, 2013.
TOP PERFORMANCES: Violet Kapri Morrow led the team with 25 points and seven rebounds while adding three assists. She shot 63 percent from the field (10-16) and 57 percent (4-7) from three-point range with a perfect 1-for-1 from the free throw line. The senior extends her double-digit scoring streak to 22-straight games dating back to last season and this is her six 20-plus point performance of the season.
Freshman Jessica McDowell-White rounded out the double digit scoring for the Eagles with 11 points and led the team with four assists.
KEY STATISTICS: Eastern Washington shot 39.3 percent from the field (24-61), 37.5 percent from three-point range (9-24) and only missed one free throw attempt, going 10-for-11 on the night (90.9%).
They out-rebounded the Griz, 37-to-34, while holding them to 42.6 percent on the day from the floor (23-54). Montana made just two three-pointers (2-8) and were 16-for-23 from the line.
Eastern’s bench outscored Montana’s bench 27-to-0. UM had eight turnovers and seven steals to EWU’s 12 turnovers and one steal.
1,000-POINTS AND COUNTING: After becoming the newest and 18 th member of Eastern Washington’s 1,000-point club at Montana on Jan. 10, 2019, Violet Kapri Morrow continues to climb EWU’s all-time scoring list.
After scoring 25 points this afternoon against Montana, Morrow moves into 9th all-time with 1,161 points. She is now just 33 points away from eighth place with 1,194 career points.
UP NEXT: The Eagles hit the road, briefly, for a game at Northern Colorado on Feb. 14 where they will look to avenge an overtime loss to the Bears on Jan. 7.
When Eastern Washington returns, it will be for three-straight games, marking the longest home stand of the season. It begins with a President’s Day matinee at Reese Court with Idaho at 2:05 p.m., followed by the men’s team taking on the Vandals at 4:15 p.m. Additionally, the Eagles host Southern Utah (Feb. 21) and Northern Arizona (Feb. 23) as a part of the home stand. EWU plays five of its last seven regular season games at home.