Eastern Washington women advance to quarterfinals with victory over Weber State
BOISE, Idaho — 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.
“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.