CHENEY, Wash. – In a great battle at Reese Court on Friday night (Nov. 17), the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team came up just short against the visiting Brigham Young Cougars, falling by a final score of 73-69.
Both Violet Kapri Morrow and Uriah Howard led the Eagles in double figures, setting new career highs. Morrow posted 25 points and led the team with 11 rebounds for her first career double-double, while Howard added 17 points and was 4-7 behind the arc.
"I thought our effort was the best it's been, we have to play that hard all the time. I thought we played hard, it wasn't great and smart all of the time, but we played hard and that makes up for a lot. In a lot of ways, we did some really good things," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "We played a really good team tonight, so I hope that helps our confidence. We need to know that we can play with anybody. I saw some really good things from us, but we are a work in progress. We are going to get better, we are buying into the process and we want to keep working every day. We don't want to be our best right now, we want to be our best in January and February."
Eastern led by six points after the first quarter thanks to a 13-2 run over the final three minutes. Howard had reached a new career-high in points by the middle of the second quarter after going 3-4 from three-point range. EWU led most of the second half, but the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to close out the second quarter. At the end of two quarters of play, the Eagles led 31-27.
The third quarter opened with a Symone Starks' three-pointer, but the Cougars took their first lead of the half after hitting four three-pointers of their own. Morrow then exploded for seven points in 47 seconds and the Eagles forced three turnovers during that span. Both teams would put up 22 points apiece during the third frame – BYU shot 54.5% from the field while the Eagles shot at a 50% clip. At the end of three quarters, EWU still held a 53-49 lead.
BYU took a commanding lead in the fourth quarter as they used a 12-0 run, hitting five out of six field goals. They were able to hold EWU scoreless for over four minutes, and made it to the line several times, hitting 12 out of 15 free throws. Eastern turned the ball over six times, but worked to stay alive as Howard hit a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to come within three points. However, it wasn't enough to spark EWU's offense as they fell by a score of 73-69.
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: With the loss, Eastern Washington falls to 1-2 on the young season, while the Cougars improve to 2-1. BYU now leads the all-time series 2-1.
KEY STATS: For the third straight game, EWU outrebounded their opponent. This time, they held Shalae Salmon who averages 16 rebounds a game to 11. BYU shot 41.7% from the field, while the Eagles shot 35.5%. Both teams were even at 16 turnovers apiece, but the Cougars had 13 steals to Eastern's 11. The Cougars were also better from behind the arc, shooting 35.3% and holding the Eagles to 28%. In addition, 27 of BYU's points came from free throws, while the Eagles shot 75.0% from the line with 18.
TURNING POINT: Eastern Washington led for 27:05, and only trailed for 9:21. It wasn't until the fourth quarter when BYU was able to lead for good. The Cougars were able to take 15 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, making 12 of them. They were also able to keep Eastern off the board for over four minutes in the final frame.
TOP PERFORMERS: Both Uriah Howard (17) and Violet Kapri Morrow (25) set new career-highs in points. Morrow also added a career-high 11 rebounds for her first career double-double. It was also her first game scoring over 20 points. Delaney Hodgins added seven points, moving her career point total to 1,491 points. She also led with a career-high six blocks and three assists. Symone Starks also added a season high seven points.
NOTEABLES: In addition to new career-highs in points, Howard also totaled a career-high four steals and two assists in addition to four three-pointers.
UP NEXT: The Eagles hit the road again, this time traveling to Oregon to take on the Ducks on Tuesday (Nov. 21) at 6 p.m.
On sharing the ball: "We did a great job sharing the ball. Although BYU did a great job defensively against Delaney, I thought she did a good job of finding her teammates and finding open shooters and others were able to knock shots down. It was good to see some girls get going on the offensive end."
On keys to the game: "I don't think we came out with enough energy in the second half, and they hit a lot of three-pointers on us which didn't help. They also went to the zone late and we didn't handle it well. We have to be better decision makers, and although we were taking care of the ball until that point, we started forcing things. It also doesn't help when another player gets to the line 17 times."