Eastern Washington is on to the Semifinals after an OT Victory over Idaho State
BOISE, Idaho — It took an overtime period, but the Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team is advancing to the Big Sky Conference Semifinals after a 67-65 upset over No. 3 Idaho State today (March 12) in the quarterfinals.
The No. 6 Eagles never led until there was 1:33 remaining in the overtime period. It was senior Violet Kapri Morrow who stole the ball with 1:35 left and cashed in the layup to give the Eagles a 66-65 lead. With six seconds left, she swished a free throw to help Eastern go up by two, and that was all it took as the Bengals could not respond.
Morrow led the Eagles with 22 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. Freshman Bella Cravens earned the first double-double of her career with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jessica McDowell-White added 11 points to go with four assists and three steals.
“I’m extremely proud. We knew how good Idaho State was coming in to this and we knew it was going to take a grand effort. The players really stepped up to the challenge,” said head coach Wendy Schuller , who is taking her team to the semifinals for the 10 th time in her career. “Going into this game we talked about how we didn’t have anything to lose. We’re the lower seeded team and a lot of people thought we didn’t have a chance. It didn’t matter who thought we had a chance, just as long as we knew we did.”
Eastern was held to just 33.3 percent from the field (8-24) in the first half and while they made six of their seven free throw attempts, they were unable to make any three-point field goals and trailed 32-22 at the half.
Down by 12 after three quarters of play, the Eagles came out and locked down defensively while scoring 12 unanswered to open the fourth. Morrow came out and made a three-pointer and the rest of the Eagles followed suit, cutting their deficit to just two points, 54-52.
From there, the Bengals used a 5-0 run to pull back ahead by five. Down two points with 12 seconds remaining, freshman Jessica McDowell-White delivered two free throws to tie the contest 59-59. Idaho State missed their game-winning attempt and the game went into overtime.
Eastern Washington only allowed seven fourth quarter points and poured on 19 of its own on 41.7 percent from the field.
The Eagles trailed by as many as four points with two minutes remaining in overtime, but outscored the Bengals 8-to-6.
The victory comes just five days after the Eagles lost to the Bengals by 29 points on their own home floor on March 7. Earlier this season, Eastern lost to ISU on Dec. 31 by a score of 64-48.
The Eagles now set their sights on No. 2 Northern Colorado who advanced to the semifinals earlier today with an 82-50 win over Southern Utah. Eastern and the Bears split the season series, with EWU losing in overtime (67-62) in Cheney on Jan. 7 and winning on the road 76-72 on Feb. 14.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Pacific time at CenturyLink Arena and can be watched on Pluto TV Ch. 231 and WatchBigSky.com and will also be broadcast on ElevenSports.
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: Eastern Washington improves to 12-19 on the season while Idaho State’s season comes to an end with a 20-10 overall record.
This win marked the first-ever victory over Idaho State in the Big Sky Conference tournament. The Eagles are now 1-3 against the Bengals in the tournament, all of which have come during the quarterfinal round.
TOP PERFORMANCES: Violet Kapri Morrow led the team with 22 points and added seven rebounds. She was 7-for-15 from the field and 7-for-11 from the free throw line.
Freshman Bella Cravens set a new career-high of 13 points and added 12 rebounds for the first double-double of her career. She was 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line with two blocks.
Jessica McDowell-White scored 11 points on 4-for-10 from the field. She led the team with four assists and three steals. She was 2-for-2 from the free throw line, which were key in sending the game into overtime with a 59-59 tie.
KEY STATISTICS: Eastern Washington shot 44.2 percent from the field (23-52). After draining 14 three-pointers the evening before against Weber State, the team was just 3-for-16 from deep. However, they shot 75 percent from the free throw line, making 18 of their 24 attempts.
Idaho State was just 4-for-8 from the free throw line. They shot 40.6 percent from the field (26-64) and made nine three-pointers.
Eastern turned the ball over 21 times to Idaho State’s 18. and the Bengals had 23 assists to EWU’s five. Both teams had 10 steals each.
EAGLES IN THE TOURNAMENT: As a No. 6 seed, Eastern is 4-5 all-time and are 2-2 overall against No. 2 seeds, which they will see tomorrow in Northern Colorado. The Eagles are just 4-12 overall in the semifinals. Eastern has now advanced to the semifinal round in four of the last five seasons.
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 nine BSC Tournament games. Under Schuller, the Eagles are 9-14 in the tournament with seven semifinal appearances. They have not advanced to the finals since March 12, 1988.
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.