Eagles Fly By NAU, 92-68 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles Fly By NAU, 92-68

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Hayley Hodgins led the way with a career-high 26 points as the Eagles ran past NAU on Thursday. Hayley Hodgins led the way with a career-high 26 points as the Eagles ran past NAU on Thursday.

by EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – Three Eagles scored at least 20 points in the same game for what is believed to be the first time in school history Thursday, Jan. 16, as the Eastern Washington women's basketball team cruised by visiting Northern Arizona, 92-68, in a Big Sky contest at Reese Court.

Sophomore Hayley Hodgins led the way with a career-high 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting. She tied her career high with five made three-pointers and chipped in five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 36 minutes.

Junior Lexie Nelson finished with 21 points, going a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. She has now reached double figures EWU's last 13 games, scoring at least 20 points in five of those outings.

Senior Laura Hughes came off the bench to score 20 points, finishing one shy of her career high. She pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. She buried nine of her 12 attempts from the field.

Senior Aubrey Ashenfelter added 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

"It's great to see us putting the ball in the basket and shooting a higher percentage after last weekend," head coach Wendy Schuller said. "I thought we did a great job on defense, as well, holding them to 32 percent shooting."

Eastern (7-8, 3-3 Big Sky) struggled to make a shot in the early going, shooting 1-of-7 through the first five minutes while Northern Arizona (4-10, 2-3 BSC) opened up a 7-2 lead. Hodgins pulled EWU to within three, 7-4, with a jumper at the 14:53 mark, igniting a 32-5 run over the next 10 minutes that gave Eastern a 22-point advantage, 34-12, with 5:40 on the clock.

The Lumberjacks cut Eastern's lead to 16, 39-23, on a layup from Catelyn Preston at the 1:46 mark but would get no closer the rest of the half as Hodgins beat the buzzer with a three-pointer from the left corner to put the Eagles up 19, 46-27, at the half.

Despite its cold start, Eastern shot 47 percent in the first half compared to NAU's 31-percent clip. EWU made six three-pointers in the opening stanza, turning 11 Lumberjack turnovers into 11 points.

Eastern's lead would balloon to as many as 28 points in the second half, but Northern Arizona kept attacking, getting into the lane and drawing contact. The Lumberjacks attempted 21 free throws in the second half, knocking down 17. The visitors would get as close as 17, 77-60, with 5:55 remaining but four straight points from Nelson restored the Eagles' 20-point advantage that held the rest of the way.

EWU was even hotter in the second half, shooting 58 percent while holding NAU to 33 percent shooting.

Eastern shot 52 percent for the game, limiting Northern Arizona to a 32-percent clip. The Eagles were 10-of-18 from three-point range while the Lumberjacks knocked down just four of their 15 attempts from distance.

EWU got 38 points in the paint, its most in six Big Sky games this season. The Eagles turned 19 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points while NAU scored just 11 second-chance points despite pulling down 17 offensive boards.

Amanda Frost scored a game-high 29 points, going 8-of-23 from the field. Brittani Lusain added 15 points off the bench.

The Eagles are back in action this Saturday, Jan. 18, when Sacramento State visits Reese Court. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. PST.

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