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EWU women’s basketball wins in comeback fashion over North Dakota

The+EWU+bench+reacts+during+the+team%27s+74-70+victory+over+North+Dakota.+The+Eagles+are+now+6-8+on+the+season%2C+and+4-3+at+Reese+Court.+%7C+Photo+courtesy+of+Aaron+Malmoe
The EWU bench reacts during the team's 74-70 victory over North Dakota. The Eagles are now 6-8 on the season, and 4-3 at Reese Court. | Photo courtesy of Aaron Malmoe

The EWU bench reacts during the team's 74-70 victory over North Dakota. The Eagles are now 6-8 on the season, and 4-3 at Reese Court. | Photo courtesy of Aaron Malmoe

The EWU bench reacts during the team's 74-70 victory over North Dakota. The Eagles are now 6-8 on the season, and 4-3 at Reese Court. | Photo courtesy of Aaron Malmoe

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

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Two days after losing its conference season opener to Northern Colorado, the EWU women’s basketball team bounced back with a 74-70 home victory against North Dakota on Dec. 30. The Eagles are now 1-1 in conference play, and 6-8 overall.

Senior forward Delaney Hodgins scored 27 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had four blocked shots in the win.

Early on in non-conference play, the Eagles struggled to find consistent scoring outside of Hodgins. This problem faded as the non-conference schedule continued, and has been completely gone thus far in Big Sky play.

For the second straight game, scoring was provided by a team effort.  Sophomore guard Symone Starks had 14 points, and senior forward Mariah Cunningham came off the bench to score 11 points in just nine minutes of play.

Starks paced the Eagles early on. She scored the first four points for EWU, and helped them stay close in the first quarter. The Eagles never led in the opening frame, but there were several ties. The quarter ended with the Fighting Hawks leading 18-16.

Hodgins impacted the first half with her defense and her rebounding. Though only scoring 7 points through the first two quarters, she had seven rebounds and all four of her blocked shots in the first half. Hodgins’ solid defense forced UND into several turnovers, and she was all over the court chasing down loose balls. Her and Starks’ play, along with seven points by junior guard Kapri Morrow, allowed the Eagles to enter halftime leading 32-30.

The third quarter would be the worst scoring quarter for the Eagles. With 3:34 remaining in the frame, redshirt freshman forward Amy Hartleroad made a layup to put the Eagles up 47-40. They would not score again until junior center Amira Chandler did so with 9:22 remaining in the fourth. In between those two baskets, the Fighting Hawks scored 14 straight points to take a seven point advantage.

After Chandlers’ basket, UND then registered six more points to gain their largest lead of the contest at 60-49. This would be the game’s one and only double-digit lead, and it would not last long as the Eagles began chipping away the the UND lead.

With 2:43 remaining, the Eagles pulled back within two. UND junior guard Melissa Dailey answered with a three to put the Fighting Hawks up by five. Then, the Delaney Hodgins show started. With 1:57 remaining, Hodgins answered with a triple of her own. While UND made a two on its next possession, Hodgins responded with another three, cutting the lead to 70-69.

Hodgins then stole the ball, and scored two more points to give the Eagles the lead with 0:33 remaining. In a span of 1:24, Hodgins had gone on a 8-2 run, as the senior forward registered 14 points in the final quarter.

The Eagles would not lose this lead. The Fighting Hawks fouled Cunningham twice to try and extend the game, and Cunningham made three out of the four free-throws to put the game out of reach.

“Delaney is a special player,” EWU head coach Wendy Schuller said following the win. “She stepped up and made special shots late in the game. Our team has a lot of confidence in her to get her the ball so she can go to work and make those big shots.”

The Eagles next play at Portland State on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. PSU opened up Big Sky Conference play on Dec. 30 with a 94-93 win over Sacramento State, and are 7-5 overall on the season.

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EWU women’s basketball wins in comeback fashion over North Dakota