Eastern Washington women advance to quarterfinals with victory over Weber State

Eastern Washington women advance to quarterfinals with victory over Weber State

As the saying goes in March, survive and advance, and the No. 6 Eastern Washington University women’s basketball team did just that with a first-round victory over No. 11 Weber State today (March 11) by a score of 81-74.

The win comes just two days after the Eagles fell to the Wildcats at home on Senior Day to close the regular season. Eastern relied on their three-point shot, draining 14, which is just one shy of a program record. They also grabbed 48 rebounds and shot 41.7 percent from the field.

The Eagles now advance to play No. 3 Idaho State tomorrow (March 12) in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

Violet Kapri Morrow cashed in her fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jessica McDowell-White also added a new career-high 19 points, scoring five three-pointers on six attempts and led the team with five assists.

Uriah Howard followed with 15 points and was a rebound short of a double-double. Grace Kirscher rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.

“More than anything, I’m proud of our grit. We fought back from some adversity and had a monster fourth quarter. I thought we were lackadaisical coming out of halftime and we didn’t have a great third quarter, so it was great to see us respond the way we did in the fourth,” said head coach Wendy Schuller . “When you shoot the three the way we did, you’re going to win a lot of games so I was proud of our players for stepping up the way we needed them to.”

The Eagles brought their three-point shot to Boise and it showed in the first quarter as they shot 85.7 percent from deep with six three-point field goals. Howard and McDowell-White each had three as the team shot 47.1 percent in the first as a whole, giving them a 24-21 lead after the first.

Eastern Washington fell cold in the second as they were kept off of the scoreboard for 4:29 of the second quarter as their lead diminished. After Weber State used a 6-0 run to tie the contest 29-29, the two teams exchanged buckets and found themselves in a 34-34 tie. With less than a minute remaining, both teams would capitalize on a three-point attempt that brought the game to a 37-37 tie at the half.

EWU came out sluggish in the third quarter and were outscored 17-11 and made just four field goals to trail 54-48 with a quarter to play.

Morrow made it clear her career as an Eagle wouldn’t end tonight, busting out four-straight points to open the final frame. Her teammate Grace Kirscher , a freshman, then fired off five-straight points as the Eagles opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 57-54 lead back.

The Eagles then found their three-point groove again, as Alissa Sealby and Kirscher made back-to-back threes to cap off an 8-0 run. With two minutes remaining, McDowell-White put the nail in the coffin with consecutive three-point field goals to give Eastern a 73-61 lead.

Eastern outscored Weber State 33-20 in the fourth quarter. The Eagles saved their best quarter for last, shooting 69.2 percent from the field on 9-for-13 shooting including five three pointers and 10 free throws en route to the 81-74 first round victory.

WIN-LOSS RECORDS: Eastern Washington improves to 11-19 overall while the Wildcats end their season 6-25.

This was the first time the two squads had met in the postseason since March 9, 2006. Eastern is now 3-4 all-time against the Wildcats in the conference tournament, with its last win ironically coming on March 11, 2004 by a score of 58-57 in the quarterfinals.

Eastern snaps a one-game losing streak to Weber State and have now won five out of the last six meetings.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Violet Kapri Morrow had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds on 6-for-12 shooting from the field and was 6-for-9 from the free throw line. She also added two assists and led the team with two steals.

Jessica McDowell-White scored a new career-high 19 points, making five of her six three-point attempts and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She also led the team with five assists and had five rebounds.

Uriah Howard added 15 points and was 3-for-4 from three-point range. She also had three assists, a steal and was a rebound short of a double-double.

Grace Kirscher , who scored 10 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, also made two three-pointers and was 4-for-7 from the field.

KEY STATISTICS: The game was a back-and-forth affair with 10 ties and nine lead changes. Eastern Washington shot 41.7 percent from the field (25-60), 48.3 percent from three-point range (14-29) and shot 81 percent from the free throw line (17-21).

The Wildcats shot 40 percent from the field (28-70), 40 percent from three-point range (8-20) and shot 62.5 percent from the free throw line (10-16).

Eastern Washington out-rebounded the Wildcats, 48-to-30, and had 16 assists. Eastern was outscored in the paint 28-to-12 but outscored the Wildcat bench 38-to-2.

Weber State’s Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists on 11-for-18 shooting from the field.

UP NEXT: Eastern Washington now turns their sights on the next challenge, facing No. 3 Idaho State in the quarterfinals tomorrow (March 12) at 7 p.m. PT.

The Eagles lost both season meetings with the Bengals, most recently suffering a 74-45 loss at home on March 7. Eastern is 0-3 all-time against Idaho State at the tournament.