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EWU women’s basketball upset by Portland State in Big Sky quarterfinals

Seniors+Delaney+Hodgins+%28left%29+and+Mariah+Cunningham+sit+with+assistant+coaches+during+the+waning+moments+of+EWU%27s+loss+to+Portland+State.+Hodgins+scored+15+points+against+PSU+%7C+Brooks+Nuanez%2C+Skyline+Sports
Seniors Delaney Hodgins (left) and Mariah Cunningham sit with assistant coaches during the waning moments of EWU's loss to Portland State. Hodgins scored 15 points against PSU | Brooks Nuanez, Skyline Sports

Seniors Delaney Hodgins (left) and Mariah Cunningham sit with assistant coaches during the waning moments of EWU's loss to Portland State. Hodgins scored 15 points against PSU | Brooks Nuanez, Skyline Sports

Seniors Delaney Hodgins (left) and Mariah Cunningham sit with assistant coaches during the waning moments of EWU's loss to Portland State. Hodgins scored 15 points against PSU | Brooks Nuanez, Skyline Sports

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

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All it takes is one off game.

The EWU women’s basketball team entered the Big Sky Championship tournament in Reno flying high. The Eagles were on a four-game winning streak and senior forward Delaney Hodgins had scored 30 or more points in four of her last five games while closing the regular season with back-to-back career highs in scoring.

Hodgins’ hot hand turned cold at the wrong time, as the Eagles were upset in the quarterfinals by No. 6 Portland State 82–73 on March 7.

“I think that with the help of my teammates, I was able to have some big games, but tonight I didn’t show that,” Hodgins said.

Hodgins opened the game shooting 2-for-11 and had six points at halftime. She finished the game with 15 points. EWU’s second-leading scorer, junior guard Kapri Morrow, had 14 points.

Hodgins started the scoring off with a triple to give the Eagles a 3–0 lead. Morrow, freshman guard Brittany Klaman and sophomore forward Uriah Howard added three-pointers of their own to help EWU take a 12–6 lead. But the Eagles’ hot hand wouldn’t last.

PSU junior guard Ashley Bolston had 10 points before halftime as the Vikings closed the half on a 6–0 run to take a 37–35 lead into the locker room.

It was in the third quarter that the wheels really came off for the Eagles.

Bolston continued her strong play in the second half and junior guard Sidney Rielly came alive, as the Vikings extended their lead to 64–50 with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.

The teams largely traded baskets in the fourth, and PSU walked away with the upset victory.

Howard led the Eagles with 22 points, her career high. Klaman added 13 points and four assists. Hodgins, despite the off night, broke the program record for most points in a single season, passing her older sister Hayley for the honor.

Rielly and Bolston each finished with 20 points for PSU, while junior forward Courtney West had 17 and freshman guard Kylie Jimenez added 12.

Emotions ran high for the Eagles after the game as head coach Wendy Schuller came to terms with the realization that she had likely coached her seniors, Hodgins and forward Mariah Cunningham, for the final time.

“Delaney and Mariah have both been so fun to coach and I feel blessed to have had them under my tutelage for the last four years,” Schuller said. “I’m going to miss them. As good as they were on the floor I’m going to miss them more off of the floor […] It’s a shame to know that we aren’t going to be together every day.”

Portland State advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to No. 2 Idaho. Idaho then fell to No. 1 Northern Colorado in the championship game.

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About the Writer
Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor
Jeremy Burnham is The Easterner’s Managing Editor. Burnham, a transfer student from Columbia Basin College studying journalism, is in his second year with The Easterner, having spent 2017-18 as a sports reporter and copy editor.
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EWU women’s basketball upset by Portland State in Big Sky quarterfinals