CHENEY, Wash. - After six games straight on the road, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team returned to the familiar confines of Reese Court Monday evening (Jan. 7) as they hosted Northern Colorado in Big Sky Conference play. In a game that saw 10 lead changes and 14 ties, it inevitably landed in overtime where the Eagles fell 67-62 to the defending Big Sky Champions.
Violet Kapri Morrow, who led the team with 21 points and is now seven points away from the 1,000-point club, tied the game 58-58 with a layup with 3.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter which eventually sent the game into overtime.
Eastern had two other players in double figures, including Grace Kirscher who had 14 points and Alissa Sealby who notched a new career-high of 12.
"I was proud of how hard we competed tonight, I thought we played with a lot of determination. I thought we finally looked like the team that I know we are. It feels like we're starting to see the chick come out of the shell and hatch, so that was a positive," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "We had kids that played really hard and it was good to see us defend the way we defended tonight. Obviously, we're disappointed to come away with the loss."
Kirscher opened the scoring with a three-pointer, her first of four in the opening two quarters. After holding the Bears scoreless for over three minutes, Northern Colorado worked to take an eventual 10-8 lead. Trailing 16-11, Sealby hit her second three-pointer of the quarter to cut the deficit to two. After a back-and-forth opening frame, the Eagles trailed by three, 19-16.
Kirscher made three triples in the first four minutes of the second quarter, and Uriah Howard added one, to help the Eagles own their largest lead of the night, 30-24. Despite falling scoreless for the final four minutes of the quarter, the Eagles shot 46.2 percent from the field and outscored the Bears 16-11. After a first half that saw five lead changes and five ties, Eastern Washington held a 32-30 lead.
Both teams went shot-for-shot in the third quarter and were tied 44-44 when the Eagles held the Bears scoreless for nearly four minutes of play. Eastern ended the quarter on a 6-2 run to lead by two points 48-46 after three frames.
After shooting 50 percent from the field in the third quarter, the Eagles found themselves without a field goal for over seven minutes of play while the Bears shot 42.9 percent. Trailing 56-52 with less than three minutes to play, Eastern came alive and used a quick 4-0 run to tie the game with 1:37 remaining. After the Bears connected on a jumper to lead by two points, Morrow worked through traffic and made the layup with three seconds remaining to tie the contest 58-58 and send the game to overtime.
After Kirscher made a layup to start, Eastern Washington was held scoreless for almost four minutes during the overtime period and Northern Colorado was able to outscore the Eagles 9-to-4 in the quarter en route to the 67-62 decision.
"There's a lot of basketball left to play and I'm really proud of these young women. It hasn't been easy to this point, we've been on the road and played a difficult schedule and they have not hung their heads. They continue to work, be coachable and support each other, they're the epitome of what you want a team to be," added Schuller. "Tonight was a step forward for us, but we have to continue to have the mentality that we are going to work hard and get better because there's a lot of season left."
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