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Women’s Basketball Splits Home Stand Against Pair of Big Sky’s Best

Whitney Bolar

Whitney Bolar

By Sam Cropper, for The Easterner

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The EWU women’s basketball team split a pair of Big Sky Conference (BSC) home matchups against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Northern Colorado Bears over the weekend, and they now sit at 9-4 in conference play with five games remaining before the BSC Tournament.

The Eagles competed in two tightly contested games against the teams sitting atop the BSC standings, with both games coming down to the final seconds.

In the game against North Dakota on Feb. 9, the Eagles held the Fighting Hawks to 39.3 percent shooting from the field in the second half, after they shot 53.6 percent in the first half. After trailing by six points heading into the fourth quarter, the Eagles were able to cut the deficit to one, but EWU missed five of their next seven shots and the Fighting Hawks were able to hold off the Eagles, 75-71.

Offensively, the Eagles had four players score in double-figures, led by junior Delaney Hodgins with 19 points. EWU shot just 16.7 percent from three-point range, while North Dakota shot 40 percent. Freshman Symone Starks had a well-balanced game, finishing with 10 points, six steals, five rebounds and five assists.

“They are a really good basketball team, and we had our opportunities down the stretch, but we couldn’t convert on a couple possessions,” said head coach Wendy Schuller. “We are improving as a team, and we have to put our best foot forward from here because we have the other first place team coming in on Saturday.”

The Eagles did just that, beating Northern Colorado 67-61 on Feb. 11 to end the weekend on a high note. EWU’s ‘big three,’ of Hodgins and seniors Ashli Payne and Tisha Phillips, combined for 52 of the Eagles’ 67 points, as well as combining to shoot 57.9 percent from the field.

Hodgins was clutch from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, nailing back-to-back three-pointers to put the Eagles up double-digits and sealing the victory. Hodgins finished the game making four of her five three-point attempts.

“Delaney understands when she needs to step up,” said Schuller. “She got some really good open looks from three and knocked them down at a crucial time for us.”

The Eagles remain in fourth place in the BSC and have just one game this weekend against the Idaho Vandals in Moscow, Idaho on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. The Vandals are 8-5 in BSC play, with the Eagles winning the first matchup between the two on Dec. 31, 67-57.

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Women’s Basketball Splits Home Stand Against Pair of Big Sky’s Best