Eagles prepare for rivalry matchup against Gonzaga - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles prepare for rivalry matchup against Gonzaga

Photo: EWU Athletics Photo: EWU Athletics

By Eastern Washington Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women's basketball team is prepping to taking on local foe Gonzaga on Thursday evening (Nov. 30). The Eagles tip-off against the Bulldogs inside the McCarthy Athletic Center at 6 p.m. Thursday's contest will be broadcast regionally on SWX.
This is the fourth road game for the Eagles this season, as they are 2-3 overall through this nonconference slate. Thursday serves as Gonzaga's regular season home opener as they also sit at 2-3 overall after wrapping up a 1-2 weekend at the Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas, Nev. 
LAST TIME OUT: Hot second-half shooting lifted the Eagles to a 20-point victory over Utah Valley on Saturday (Nov. 25). Delaney Hodgins led the team with 24 points, followed by Symone Starks who had a season-high 15. Uriah Howard pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.
After shooting just 28% from the field in the first half, the Eagles rallied and shot 57.14% in the second. They were able to limit the Wolverines to just 25% from the field in the third quarter and ended the game on a 14-2 run en route to their second victory of the season.
THIRD TO 1,500: With her first basket in the first quarter against Utah Valley, Delaney Hodgins became just the third player in Eastern Washington history to surpass 1,500 career points. She now has 1,523 career points to rank third all-time on EWU's all-time career scoring list. The Preseason Big Sky MVP is just 211 points away from moving into sole possession of second place and is 343 away from breaking her older sister Haley Hodgins' all-time record of 1,865 points.
A LOOK AT YOUR EAGLES: Although the Eagles are only averaging 58.2 points per game through five contests, they're finding other areas to excel at on the court. As a team, EWU ranks 26th across Division I with 5.6 blocks per game to lead the Big Sky. They have 28 blocked shots on the season which ranks 50th.
In addition, Eastern Washington is shooting .760 from the line this season, which is 39th in the nation. Eastern's defense forces 19.20 turnovers per game, and ranks 25th in the nation with 11.8 steals per game.
Leading the way for Eastern Washington is senior Delaney Hodgins, who averages 19.0 points per game, which is 64th in the NCAA. She ranks 17th in the nation with 2.8 blocked shots per game and 40th with 3.4 steals per game.
Violet Kapri Morrow also averages points into the double-digits with 11.4 per contest. She is shooting .857 from the free throw line, going 24-28 on the year. Symone Starks leads the team with 12 assists and has 13 steals on the year.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: As a team, Gonzaga averages 66 points per contest. Their wins have come over Montana (70-55) and Kent State (77-57). They are led offensively by Jill Barta who averages 19.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds. Barta is also one of the nation's top scorers as she ranks 50th in points per game and 60th in rebounds per game. Chandler Smith is the other Zag who averages double-figures in 12 points per game.
GU also ranks in the top-100 in blocked shots per game across Division I with 4.6. Through five games, the Bulldogs have only turned the ball over 66 times which is 24th in the nation.
Gonzaga is the reigning West Coast Conference champions and return 62.4% of their scorers from a team that advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
SERIES HISTORY: Both squads have a storied history together as Thursday marks the 45th all-time meeting and they have faced off nearly every season dating back to 1985. The Eagles are in search of their first win over the Bulldogs since Dec. 31, 2003. Since then, they have dropped 13 straight to Gonzaga. Last season, EWU fell 73-54 at home on Dec. 11. Eastern came close to topping GU during the 2014 season as they lost by one point 61-60 at home.
UP NEXT: Eastern returns to Reese Court for three-straight home games following Thursday's contest. The home stand begins with Boise State on Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. EWU then plays host to Multnomah for Kid's Day on Dec. 8 before closing the stretch with Cal Poly on Dec. 11.

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