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EWU women’s basketball falls to Gonzaga in non-conference play

Sophomore+forward+Uriah+Howard+scans+the+BYU+defense+on+Nov.+17.+After+losing+to+Gonzaga+on+Thursday%2C+the+Eagles+are+2-4+on+the+season.+%7C+Bailey+Monteith+for+The+Easterner.
Sophomore forward Uriah Howard scans the BYU defense on Nov. 17. After losing to Gonzaga on Thursday, the Eagles are 2-4 on the season. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner.

Sophomore forward Uriah Howard scans the BYU defense on Nov. 17. After losing to Gonzaga on Thursday, the Eagles are 2-4 on the season. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner.

Sophomore forward Uriah Howard scans the BYU defense on Nov. 17. After losing to Gonzaga on Thursday, the Eagles are 2-4 on the season. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner.

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

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The EWU women’s basketball team stayed with the Gonzaga Bulldogs for one and a half quarters on Thursday night in Spokane. Then, the Eagles went three and a half minutes without scoring, and the hometown Bulldogs used a 12-0 run to pace themselves to the 69-45 victory.

Junior forward Jill Barta scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Gonzaga. The Eagles had no answer for her. EWU senior forward Delaney Hodgins was contained most of the game by a very aggressive Bulldog defense. Still, Hodgins ended up with a team-best 11 points and eight rebounds.

This season, the Eagles have been successful when players other than Hodgins are scoring offensively. For example, junior guard Symone Starks scored 16 points in the Eagles’ last win over Utah Valley. However, when they have been unable to provide this help, they have struggled. On Thursday, Hodgins did not get much help. She scored 11 points, but had to fight through double and triple coverages to earn every point she scored.

Meanwhile, no one else on the team was able to pick up much of the slack. Junior guard Kapri Morrow scored 10, but she only reached double digits after the game had long since been decided.

Poor shooting plagued the Eagles right out of the gate. They missed their first five shots, but solid defense held the Bulldogs to six points during that period. Five minutes into the first quarter, Hodgins got EWU on the board. She received a pass, pivoted into a double team, and got a shot over both defenders. The Eagles then seemed to settle into the game, and scored nine points in the last half of the first quarter, cutting their deficit to 14-9.

The teams traded baskets for the first half of the second quarter, and the Eagles still trailed by five, 21-16. Over the next 3:25, Gonzaga went on a 12-0 run and suddenly led 33-16. This was a stretch EWU could not recover from. They finished the second quarter trailing 35-21. During the first half, the Eagles shot 9-23 from the field, and 2-10 from the three point line.

The second half saw several Eagles fall into foul trouble. Four out of their five starters had at least four fouls by the end of the game. Sophomore forward Uriah Howard and senior forward Mariah Cunningham fouled out, while Hodgins and Morrow had four fouls each. Gonzaga made EWU pay at the foul line. Nine of Barta’s 19 points came from free throws. The Bulldogs were 28-40 from the foul-line, while the Eagles were 9-16.

Rebounds were also a problem for the Eagles. The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 43-25. This included using 21 offensive rebounds to lead the Eagles in second-chance-points, 18-5.

Still, the Eagles did some things well. They played intense defense, forcing Gonzaga into 17 turnovers and holding them to 39 percent shooting.

EWU head coach Wendy Schuller was unhappy with how her team reacted to mistakes.

“When we made mistakes, I didn’t like the fact that we hung our heads about it,” said Schuller. “In Eagle basketball, we play hard and we play tough. I didn’t think we did that tonight.”

The Eagles now return home for three straight home games, starting on Sunday, when they take on Boise State at 1 p.m.

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EWU women’s basketball falls to Gonzaga in non-conference play