Phillips lifts EWU women over Idaho State - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Phillips lifts EWU women over Idaho State

Courtesy: EWU Athletics Courtesy: EWU Athletics

EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – Redshirt senior Tisha Phillips poured in a game-high 21 points to lift the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team to a hard-fought 58-41 victory over Idaho State in Big Sky Conference action on Thursday (Jan. 12) night.

In a game dominated by defense, it was Phillips who shined on the offensive end, as she was one of two players in the game to post double-digits in the scoring column. The fifth-year senior was outstanding in the third and fourth quarters, as she scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the two quarters after the break, and shot 50 percent from the field in those frames. The point guard did most of her damage at the free throw line tonight, by hitting 8-of-10 from the charity stripe.

"I've been high on Tisha for a while, and I think she is one of the better guards in this league," said head coach Wendy Schuller after the game.  "She does whatever we ask her to do. She post up, she rebounds and distributes the ball well. We've needed her to step up and score the ball for us lately, and she's been able to do that. She's been very special over the last couple of weeks."

Tonight's 21-point effort marks the second-straight 20-point outing for the Lapwai, Idaho native, and it is her fifth-straight game with double-digit points.

Eastern Washington played some of its best defense of the season, as they forced Idaho State into 26 turnovers and held the Bengals to just 29.3 percent from the field for the game. The Eagles would need all of that defensive effort, as they were held to 29.1 percent from the field themselves in the game. EWU was able to take advantage of ISU's turnovers, as they outscored the Bengals, 24-8, in points off turnovers.

"From day one you work on defensive principles because defense is going to win you games at times," stats Schuller. "When the offense isn't working, you have to be able to lean on your defense and that's what we did tonight."

Win-Loss: Eastern Washington improves to 3-1 in Big Sky play and moves a game above the .500-mark on the season at 8-7. Meanwhile, Idaho State falls to 2-2 on the year and matches Eastern's overall record at 8-7.

What It Means: Tonight's win not only increases Eastern Washington's Big Sky record to 3-1, but it also improves the Eagle's record at Reese Court against Big Sky teams to 18-2 since the start of the 2014-15 season.

Key Stats: In a defensive battle, turnovers proved to be the difference in the game, as EWU forced Idaho State into 26 miscues, while committing just 14 errors of their own. Those numbers led to a 24-8 advantage in points off turnovers, which was good enough to lift the Eagles to their third Big Sky victory of the season.

Turning Point: It looked as if the Bengals were about to claw back into the game after the end of the third quarter, as they were trailing by just five points after shooting 53.8 percent from the field in the frame. But as was the theme all night, Eastern's defense answered the call and limited Idaho State to just 17.6 percent from the field in the decisive fourth quarter to outscore ISU, 20-8, in the frame.

Top Performers: Redshirt senior Tisha Phillips scored a game-high 21 points and picked up six rebounds on the night. The guard was a menace for Idaho State all night on the defensive side of the ball, as she had four steals.

Junior Delaney Hodgins picked up a season-high 11 rebounds on the night. The Big Sky's leading scorer was limited to just seven points, but she was able to make up for the lack of offense on the defensive side of the ball with three blocks and three steals.

Freshman Symone Starks scored seven points and had a game-high five steals in 23 minutes of action off the bench.

Sophomore Alissa Sealby tied her career-high in points tonight with eight.

Notables: With tonight's win, Eastern Washington improves to 18-2 over its last 20 games at Reese Court against Big Sky foes. The only two losses have come against Sacramento State during that stretch.

Eastern Washington went 1-of-15 from behind the arc tonight to just keep their 317-game streak with at least one 3-point field goal made alive.

Redshirt senior Tisha Phillips picked up her fourth 20-plus point outing of the year with 21 points against Idaho State. It is also her 13th game this season with double-digit points.

Junior Delaney Hodgins' 31-game double-digit streak was snapped tonight with a seven-point outing. The last time Hodgins failed to score at least 10 points in a game was on Jan. 9, 2016 at Idaho.

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