BOZEMAN, Mont. - Led by Delaney Hodgins' career-high 31 points, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team dropped a close heartbreaker on the road to Montana State on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 17) 77-74. With the effort, Hodgins moves into fourth on the Big Sky Conference's all-time scoring list with 1,977 career points.
Followed by Hodgins was Symone Starks who had 11 points, while Violet Kapri Morrow and Amy Hartleroad each had eight. The Eagles had 11 steals and only eight turnovers and shot over 43 percent on the afternoon.
"Montana State deserves a lot of credit for their effort today. They shot the ball lights out from three and made big ones when it mattered," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "I wasn't excited about our effort for the entire 40 minutes. We started fast against Montana and today we were the exact opposite. Against good teams in their house, you can't do that and expect to win."
The first two quarters saw six ties and five lead changes alone. A 6-0 run by the Bobcats in the first quarter carried them to an early 21-18 lead despite Delaney Hodgins' and Symone Starks' early eight points each. The Eagles used a 4-0 run in the second quarter to pull within one point.
A Violet Kapri Morrow breakaway layup helped EWU take its first lead of the game in the second quarter. After growing cold and only making 1-for-8 from the field, Brittany Klaman would hit a jumper to help the Eagles take a two-point lead into the locker room after trailing for 14:24 of the first half.
Despite shooting over 55 percent in the third quarter, the Eagles trailed by five points after three.
Brittany Klaman would drain a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to put Eastern within five points. Hodgins hit back-to-back buckets from behind the arc to put EWU within three points. Morrow chipped away at the deficit at the free throw line, and a Hodgins layup would tie the game 72-72 with just 52 seconds remaining. It was then that Montana State nailed a three-pointer to lead by three before capitalizing on a pair from the line. Morrow hit a jumper at the end, but it wouldn't be enough as the Eagles dropped the 77-74 heartbreaker.
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: The Eagles now drop to 13-13 on the season and 8-7 in Big Sky play. The Bobcats snap a four-game losing streak to improve to 14-12 and 8-7.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is the only regular season matchup between the Eagles and Bobcats as they are both still vying for a first-round bye at the conference tournament. Eastern split over the weekend after beating Montana for just the fifth time in program history in Missoula on Thursday, 75-72.
TOP PERFORMERS: Delaney Hodgins led the team with 31 points. It was just her second career game over 30 points and her 22nd straight game in double figures. She was followed by Symone Starks who had 11. Violet Kapri Morrow led the team with six rebounds.
KEY STATISTICS: Eastern shot 44 percent (28-for-64) compared to the Bobcats' 49 percent (26-53). The Bobcats were 14-for-31 from the behind the arc and outrebounded the Eagles 36-30.
ROAD TO 2,000: After scoring 31 points tonight, Eastern's all-time leading scorer Delaney Hodgins now has 1,977 career points. The total places her fourth on the Big Sky's all-time list as she looks to become just the fourth player in conference history to surpass 2,000 points. She is just 18 points away from third with four regular season games remaining. The all-time record is 2,296 set by Natalie Doma from Idaho State (2004-08).
UP NEXT: Eastern Washington returns to Cheney for its final home stand of the season as they play host to Weber State on Feb. 22 at 6:05 pm. On Saturday, seniors Delaney Hodgins and Mariah Cunningham will be honored for their decorated four years at Eastern for Senior Day against Idaho State at 2:05 pm.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD: After being named a candidate on Jan. 4, Eastern Washington University forward Delaney Hodgins has been selected as one of just ten women's basketball seniors across Division I to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She is the only member of the Big Sky Conference to be selected to the list.
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