CHENEY, Wash. - It was a Senior Day that Mariah Cunningham and Delaney Hodgins likely won't forget at Reese Court. The Eastern Washington women's basketball team was down 60-44 with 7:37 remaining when they exploded on a 22-4 run in the fourth quarter to pick up a crucial Big Sky Conference victory over Idaho State, 66-44.
"The biggest thing is momentum. We are really trying to play good basketball this time of year. Going into Reno, we want to be playing our best basketball," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "This means a lot in terms of standings and being in the top four, but the biggest thing is that we took care of Senior Day for our seniors, we wanted to make sure the last game they played on this floor was a win."
Eastern is now 15-13 overall and 10-6 in conference play, while the Bengals drop to 18-9 and 10-6 overall with two games remaining in the regular season.
It was freshman Brittany Klaman's 14 first-half points, 12 of which came from behind the arc, that kept Eastern in the game the first two quarters. The Bengals would close the second quarter on a 9-0 run to lead 37-31 heading into the locker room.
The Bengals opened on a 6-0 run in the third quarter while the Eagles struggled on 0-for-4 shooting and found themselves down 50-35. With a minute remaining, Klaman drained her fifth three-pointer of the game to give the Eagles a spark.
After trailing by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, the Eagles began to find momentum that would eventually lift them over Idaho State. Violet Kapri Morrow, who was in foul trouble for most of the game, rose off the bench and scored four quick points. She would go on to score seven points, all in the fourth quarter.
It was Alissa Sealby, who finished the day with ten points, who hit a jumper with 3:10 remaining to give Eastern a 62-60 lead. After Idaho State scored for the first time in over seven minutes to cut the lead to one point, Cunningham would sink a pair of free throws to lead 64-61.
The lead didn't last long, as ISU nailed a three-pointer to tie it up. With 41 seconds remaining, Cunningham would be the hero of her own senior day, making a layup to put the Eagles ahead 66-64.
"I thought Mariah was the key for us with the energy she brought today. She refused to quit, she refused to stop and when we didn't have a great energy on the floor, she ignited us. When she did that, we all started scoring and Delaney was able to get to the line and Kapri started knocking down shots," added Schuller. "It all started with Mariah and the positive, hard-working energy she brought today."
Idaho State had a chance to tie the game up with 10 seconds left, but missed both free throws and then missed a jumper as time expired, giving Eastern Washington a thrilling 66-64 come-from-behind victory.
Freshman Brittany Klaman led the team with a career-high 17 points. She went 5-for-7 from behind the arc. Delaney Hodgins now has 24 straight games in double figures as she added 15. Alissa Sealby followed with 10 points for her second double-digit scoring game of the season.
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: Eastern Washington improves to 15-13 overall and 10-6 in Big Sky play. The Bengals drop to 18-9 and have an identical 10-6 mark in conference. EWU snapped a four-game Bengal win streak and picked up their second straight win.
WHAT IT MEANS: With a few teams still left to play today, Eastern Washington is currently in a tie for fourth place with Idaho State and Weber State in the conference standings. EWU beat both of those teams over the weekend.
The Eagles conclude the 2017-18 home stand with an 11-3 mark at home. Since the 2014-15 season, Eastern is 31-6 in conference games at home.
KEY STATISTICS: The Bengals were 25-for-52 (48.1%) from the field, while the Eagles were 24-for-52 (46.2%). ISU drained seven three pointers and Eastern had five, all from Brittany Klaman. Eastern scored 17 second chance points to ISU's one, and outrebounded them 31-to-24. EWU also won the turnover battle 15-to-19, and had six steals.
TOP PERFORMERS: Brittany Klaman led the team with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Delaney Hodginsadded 15 (5-for-13) and was 5-for-6 from the line. Alissa Sealby was 4-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line to add 10 points. Symone Starks had five assists, while Hodgins had four and three steals. Sealby also led the team with six rebounds.
UP NEXT: The Eagles now prepare for their final two regular season games of the season. They play at Southern Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and close the season at Northern Arizona on March 2.
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