Eastern Washington edged by Gonzaga in season opener

The Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team played host to local foe Gonzaga to officially open up the 2018-19 season Sunday afternoon (Nov. 11). Eastern led by seven after the first quarter and shot 42.1 percent from the field in the third quarter, but were edged by GU by a final score of 63-51.

“We saw good things today, especially on the defensive end, but we still had a lot of breakdowns and a lot of things we can get better at. We understand that this is a process, the first step, and I think we can be a lot better by March,” said head coach Wendy Schuller who began her 18 th year as head coach this afternoon. “It’s important that we understand that we don’t back down to anybody. Days like today, it wasn’t enough but we saw plenty of things we can improve and build on. I loved our effort and energy and we played hard, we just didn’t play smart all the time.”

The Eagles came out aggressive, forcing two turnovers in the first minute. Brittany Klaman’s three-pointer officially got the scoring started and Jessica McDowell White followed shortly after with another three-point field goal. McDowell-White would tack on one more three-pointer in the quarter to go with five rebounds.

Eastern’s defense was stingy in the first frame as they kept the Bulldogs off the board for the first 3:30 and then held them scoreless for the final 3:53 to lead 12-5 after the first quarter. EWU was able to limit Gonzaga to just 15.4 percent from the field during the opening quarter.

Eastern held a 19-16 lead in the second quarter when Gonzaga used an 11-1 run over 3:19 to take its first lead of the contest. EWU was held without a field goal for over 3:55 until Alissa Sealby hit a three-pointer with seconds remaining and the Bulldogs took a 27-23 lead into the locker room.

The third quarter was a back and forth affair and was the Eagles’ strongest quarter, shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range, outscoring the Bulldogs 19-to-18. Violet Kapri Morrow scored seven straight points for the Eagles and a Sealby jumper put Eastern within one point, 35-34. Morrow would then hit another three-pointer to make it 40-39 in favor of the Bulldogs, but GU responded with a three-pointer of their own from the corner. Uriah Howard hit a jumper with less than a minute remaining, but Gonzaga was able to lead 45-42 going into the fourth quarter.

Gonzaga pulled away in the fourth quarter and built a 57-47 lead over the Eagles. EWU shot just 15.4 percent from the field during the fourth and were outscored 18-to-9 as the Bulldogs were able to shoot 40 percent in the fourth quarter en route to the 63-51 victory.

WIN-LOSS RECORDS: Gonzaga improves to 2-0 on the season while Eastern falls to 0-1 in their season opener. This afternoon marked the 45 th all-time meeting with the local foes and EWU now trails the all-time series 12-33 and has dropped 15 straight to Gonzaga.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Violet Kapri Morrow turned in her first double-double of the season, leading the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds. In her Eagle debut, Jessica McDowell-White scored 12 points and was 4-for-8 from three-point range. She was also just short of a double-double, pulling down nine rebounds and led EWU with three assists.

Senior Alissa Sealby scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds, just short of the first double-double of her career. She also led the team with two blocks and shot 50 percent from the field.

Uriah Howard had two blocks, two assists, two steals and three rebounds to go with five points.

KEY STATS: Eastern Washington shot 29.8 percent (17-57) from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range (9-27) and 53.3 percent from the charity stripe (8-15). GU was able to shoot 33.8 percent from the field on 22-for-65 shooting.

Eastern out-rebounded Gonzaga, 49-to-42 and had 10 assists to their nine. Each team had six blocks a piece, but GU had 14 steals and forced 24 Eagle turnovers while only committing 11 themselves.

UP NEXT: Eastern Washington is back in action this Wednesday inside Reese Court when it plays host to Eastern Oregon for a 6:05 p.m. tip. Visit GoEags.com/Tickets to purchase season or single-game tickets.