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EWU women’s basketball wins home pair as Hodgins breaks career scoring record

Senior+forward+Delaney+Hodgins+holds+her+record-commemorating+plaque+during+EWU%27s+win+over+Sacramento+State+on+Feb.+1.+Hodgins+became+the+school%27s+all-time+leading+scorer+in+the+victory.+%7C+Bailey+Monteith+for+The+Easterner
Senior forward Delaney Hodgins holds her record-commemorating plaque during EWU's win over Sacramento State on Feb. 1. Hodgins became the school's all-time leading scorer in the victory. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

Senior forward Delaney Hodgins holds her record-commemorating plaque during EWU's win over Sacramento State on Feb. 1. Hodgins became the school's all-time leading scorer in the victory. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

Senior forward Delaney Hodgins holds her record-commemorating plaque during EWU's win over Sacramento State on Feb. 1. Hodgins became the school's all-time leading scorer in the victory. | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

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The EWU women’s basketball team improved to 7-4 in Big Sky Conference play, and 12-11 overall, with a pair of home victories last weekend. On Feb. 1, the Eagles defeated Sacramento State University 83-76 as Delaney Hodgins became EWU’s all-time leading scorer with 1,879 career points. The senior forward passed her sister and former teammate Hayley to clinch the record.

On Feb. 3, the Eagles defeated Portland State University 64-57 to improve the team’s win streak at home to five games.

The Eagles entered the game against Sac State at seventh in the Big Sky Conference standings. They had been tied for first, before two road losses the week before dropped them. EWU head coach Wendy Schuller hoped a well-rested team would take the court against Sac State.

“I was feeling pretty good before [the back-to-back losses and drop to seventh,]” Schuller said on Jan. 30. “A tough week on the road in this league will bring you back to earth pretty quick […] We were tired. Especially on Saturday. I don’t feel like we played with any legs at all. So we’re getting ourselves healthy, rested and refocused.”

As their coach hoped, the Eagles came out looking recharged on Feb. 1. Hodgins entered the game needing 15 points to break the school’s scoring record, and she came out of the gate shooting. While she missed her first two shots of the game, including a layup, she exploded for 11 points in the opening frame. Eight different players scored for EWU in the quarter, and the Eagles led 28-17 by the end of it.

Three minutes into the second quarter, Hodgins made the record-tying three-pointer. She then stole the ball in the backcourt, drove the lane and made a wide-open layup to break her sister’s record.

After a brief break to celebrate the milestone, play resumed and Sac State started its comeback. By the end of the first half, Sac State had closed the gap to 48-44. Hodgins had 21 points at halftime, but no other Eagle had more than six.

The third quarter went back-and-forth. There were several ties in the quarter, however Sac State never went ahead. The Hornets did a better job defending Hodgins, holding her to four points. Junior guard Kapri Morrow, the Eagles’ second-leading scorer on the season, was held in check up to this point. After scoring six points in the first half, she added just two more in the third quarter. The Hornets, however, were not able to take advantage. The quarter ended with EWU up 60-58.

Morrow awakened in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points as the Eagles held on for the victory. Hodgins finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, five blocks and three steals. Morrow had 20 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore guard Symone Starks added 11 points.

“The win was the most important thing tonight,” Schuller said following the win. “Coming into the second half of conference play we talked about these next nine games and chipping away. We knew Sacramento State was going to bring it, that’s what they are known for. I was proud of us for making plays and getting good stops at the end of the game so we could come away with a win.”

The Eagles then welcomed PSU to Reese Court. They picked up where they left off against Sac State. Hodgins had another fast start, and the Eagles jumped out to a 13-3 lead. The Vikings then used a 11-3 run that stretched into the second quarter to make the score 16-14. The Eagles would continue to struggle in the second quarter, shooting only 21 percent for the quarter. By halftime, PSU had a 24-23 lead.

The Eagles solved their shooting problems after halftime. They shot 50 percent in the second half. Kapri Morrow had 10 points in the second half, and Hodgins had 10 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter as EWU hung on for the win.

Senior forward Mariah Cunningham came off the bench to score 13 points for the Eagles. Ashley Bolston led PSU with 16 points, but also committed 11 of PSU’s 31 turnovers. The Eagles scored 27 points off of turnovers, compared to only three for PSU.

Starks was a difference maker against PSU. Though she only had five points, she contributed in ways that don’t show up on the stat sheet. She pressured PSU’s guards the whole game, and played a major role in forcing PSU into 31 turnovers. Offensively, she was the main ball handler for the Eagles, and had an excellent passing game. She had seven assists, and was helpful in the team finishing with only nine turnovers. She also led the team in rebounds with five, despite being the smallest player on the court for EWU.

“We played with a lot of energy,” said Schuller. “We played hard from the get go and we played in an attack mentality and an attack style rather than sitting back and letting them do their thing.”

EWU next plays on Feb. 9 against Idaho on the road in the first game of a double-header with the men’s team. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.

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EWU women’s basketball wins home pair as Hodgins breaks career scoring record