EWU Loses First Big Sky Game as Comeback Effort Falls Short at P - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU Loses First Big Sky Game as Comeback Effort Falls Short at Portland State

A loss at Portland State ends the Eagles' seven game Big Sky Conference winning streak. (Photo: EWU Athletics) A loss at Portland State ends the Eagles' seven game Big Sky Conference winning streak. (Photo: EWU Athletics)

by EWU Athletics

Portland, Ore. - Despite some late game heroics, the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team was not able to overcome early struggles, falling 81-79 against Portland State and ending its seven game Big Sky Conference winning streak.  

Eastern drops to 13-7 with the loss and 7-1 in league play, while Portland State improves to 3-15 with the win and 1-6 in league play. 

EWU got off to a slow start in the first quarter, as the offense struggled to find its rhythm. By the end of the first period, the Eagles already found themselves down 24-9, shooting 4-of-20 from the field. Eastern began heating up from three halfway through the second quarter, with junior Tisha Phillips draining two of them, eventually cutting the deficit down to 10 at 42-32 at the half.  

While the second half went better overall for the offense, EWU hit another scoring drought heading into the fourth quarter, finding themselves down 68-50 with 9:09 left in the game. However, Eastern refused to quit. Stepping up on defense, they held the Vikings to only three points in three minutes of play, bringing the game to 73-66, in favor of PSU with 5:07 left. The game reached its climax with 2:04 remaining, when sophomore Delaney Hodgins drained a clutch three to bring the lead down to only four, 78-74. After another layup by the Eagles, Tisha Phillips  hit senior Hayley Hodgins  on a full-court outlet pass, giving her the wide open, fast break layup to tie the game, 78-78, with only one minute remaining. Despite the valiant effort, Eastern's comeback came to an end after one last Portland State three iced the game with 35 seconds left.   

Hayley Hodgins led the team in scoring with 33 points on 11-of-27 shooting, and 15 of the points coming from three point range. She also added on three steals. Delaney Hodgins nearly had a double-double scoring 11 points, while grabbing nine total rebounds. She also led the team in steals with four, and dished out five assists. Sophomore Mariah Cunningham scored 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while tallying eight total rebounds. She also added on a steal and a block.  

Eastern shot 37 percent from the field, including 32.3 percent from three, while Portland State shot 41.8 percent from the field, including 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. EWU fouled PSU 18 times, resulting in 15-of-20 shooting from the free throw line, compared to 13 fouls committed by the Vikings resulting in 9-of-12 shooting from the charity stripe for the Eagles.

Eastern turned the ball over 12 times, allowing 12 points off the mistakes for Portland State, while PSU turned the ball over 19 times, giving EWU 23 points off the miscues.  

"We didn't deserve to win this game tonight," said EWU head coach Wendy Schuller. "Portland State played their tails off. They played hungry and with nothing to lose. They came out from the get-go, playing hard and playing well. We didn't give the effort we needed to from the opening tip, and you can't play five minutes of hard basketball and expect to win. We didn't knock down shots early, which is atypical of us, but there will be times where we don't shoot the ball well, and that's when we have to be better defensively. We didn't play with a sense of urgency, dug ourselves a huge hole and Portland State kept us down for a long time. I loved that we continued to play hard and didn't give up, but I don't like that we didn't come ready to play."  

The Eagles make the trip to Sacramento State for a game this Saturday, Jan. 30. Tip-off is set for 2:05 p.m. PST.

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