Eagles women's basketball drops season opener to Fresno State - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles women's basketball drops season opener to Fresno State

Photo: EWU Athletics Photo: EWU Athletics

By EWU Athletics

FRESNO, Calif. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team opened up the 2017-18 campaign on Friday night (Nov. 10) at Fresno State. The Eagles were unable to top the Bulldogs, falling by a score of 81-56.
 
"There we good things, we forced 20 turnovers and out-rebounded them by 10. We shot the ball well from the free throw line, but we don't have an answer if we don't knock shots down," said head coach Wendy Schuller, who began her 17th season at the helm. "I believe in this team and where we can go and we have a lot of basketball in front of us. That was a good team on their home floor and we have to really take lessons from this on both ends, both offensively and defensively. If we can do that, we'll get better and we will go from there."
 
Delaney Hodgins led all scorers with 28 points on the night to move to fourth-place on Eastern Washington's all-time career scoring list with 1,456 points. She passes Brianne Ryan (2009-12) who totaled 1,451 points. Hodgins is now just 11 points out of third place and just 410 away from breaking the all-time record of 1,865 set by her older sister Hayley Hodgins (2013-16). She also added 10 rebounds and a career-high seven steals for a near-triple-double.
 
The Eagles got off on the right foot in the first quarter, shooting 42.9% from field goal range. EWU was able to force four turnovers within two minutes and used a 6-0 run later in the quarter to stay even with the Bulldogs. Fresno State used a small spurt to lead 17-15 after the first 10 minutes.
 
After Fresno State used a 6-0 run to open the second quarter, the Eagle defense was able to hold them scoreless for over three minutes. The Bulldogs would use a 12-2 run to open up a double-digit lead. Eastern Washington was limited to just 10 second-quarter points as the Bulldogs shot 43.8% from the field. At the half, the Eagles trailed 41-25.
 
In the third quarter, the Eagles were held without a field goal for the first five minutes until Hodgins hit a mid-range jumper off an assist from Uriah Howard to try and spark the Eagle offense, but trailed 66-40 after three quarters.
 
Freshman Brittany Klaman hit the Eagles' first three-pointer of the night in the fourth quarter. The Eagles then went on an 11-0 surge over the final 4:26 of the game, shooting 41.2% from the field. However, the late game rally would fall short as the Eagles dropped their season opener, 81-56.
 
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: With the loss, Eastern Washington opens up the season 0-1 while Fresno State starts 1-0. The all-time series now moves to 1-3 in the Bulldogs' favor.
 
WHAT IT MEANS: This is the second-straight season opening loss for the Eagles, who were able to finish with at least 19 wins for the third straight season in 2016-17.
 
TOP PERFORMERS: Delaney Hodgins was one point shy of her career high with 28 points. The senior now had 17 career 20-point scoring games and 79 double-figure scoring games. She also led the team with 10 rebounds for the 11th double-double of her career. She was also a perfect 6-6 from the free line and added a career-high seven steals.
 
KEY STATS: The Eagles were able to force 20 Bulldog turnovers and out-rebounded Fresno State 41-31. However, Eastern Washington was only 2-18 from three-point range while the Bulldogs were 10-19. EWU was held to just 33.3% from the field while Fresno State shot 52.5%
 
SCHULLER SAYS: "Going into this game, I felt like one of the big keys was going to be able to shoot the ball well from three-point range and 2-18 isn't getting that done. Fresno State played a lot of zone, and when we don't knock shots down then they stay in the zone, and when it rains it pours."
 
"In the first half, I thought we got in such a big hurry and got over-anxious about things and were just atrocious in terms of taking care of the basketball. We got better at that in the second half, but 19 turnovers in a half digs you in a pretty big hole and then you couple that with the way we shot the ball."
 
"Fresno State deserves a lot of credit. They are a really good basketball team and they shot lights out tonight. That's to their credit and that's to us having to get better defensively."
 
"I thought Delaney had a great night. She almost had a triple-double and really stepped up and assumed that roll of a scorer, but we've got to have a couple others that are also scorers for us, and tonight she was the only one. We have to have at least two or three kids at least in double-figures for us every night for us to be better offensively."
 
UP NEXT: Eastern Washington now turns its focus to Air Force on the road on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. The Eagles' home opener takes place on Nov. 17 at 6:05 p.m. against BYU.
 

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