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Eagles face tough nonconference schedule

Sophomore+guard+Jack+Perry+takes+the+ball+up+against+Syracuse+on+Nov.+6.+The+Eagles+were+held+to+just+10+points+in+the+first+half.
Sophomore guard Jack Perry takes the ball up against Syracuse on Nov. 6. The Eagles were held to just 10 points in the first half.

Sophomore guard Jack Perry takes the ball up against Syracuse on Nov. 6. The Eagles were held to just 10 points in the first half.

Jon Lambert - EWU Athletics

Jon Lambert - EWU Athletics

Sophomore guard Jack Perry takes the ball up against Syracuse on Nov. 6. The Eagles were held to just 10 points in the first half.

By Taylor Newquist & Drew Lawson, Sports Editor - Reporter

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Women host Zags

The EWU women’s basketball team tips off its regular season against Gonzaga on Sunday, with tipoff scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at Reese Court.

The two teams have squared off 45 times, with Gonzaga holding the all-time series lead 32-13. The Eagles haven’t defeated the Bulldogs since 2003, when they won a 72-69 contest at the Spokane Arena. The two teams last played on Nov. 28, 2017, a game Gonzaga won 78-56.

After the Eagles exhibition win against Simon Fraser on Nov. 4, head coach Wendy Schuller said the team will need to improve to have a chance against the Bulldogs.

“We gotta get a lot better than we were today,” Schuller said. “There’s a lot of things we have to sharpen up. That’s a team who is really good.”

EWU is led by three returning starters: junior Uriah Howard, sophomore Brittany Klaman and senior Violet Kapri Morrow. In last year’s game against GU, Morrow scored eight points on 3-11 shooting, while Howard and Klaman did not play.

Gonzaga won the West Coast Conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, where they were knocked off by Stanford. They are favorites to win the WCC again this year. The Bulldogs are led by three preseason All-WCC seniors: Chandler Smith, Zykera Rice and Laura Stockton, the daughter of former Bulldog and Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton.

Admission to the game is free to students who show ID. Tickets are available to the general public at goeags.com.

Orange crush Eagles

The EWU men’s basketball team opened its season against No. 16 Syracuse on Tuesday, losing 66-34. The Eagles struggled against the Orange, shooting 22 percent from the field and 17 percent from three. They also had 19 turnovers.

“We just needed some better performances from some guys,” head coach Shantay Legans said. “I have to put them in positions to be successful.”

Despite their struggles, the Eagles held the Syracuse offense to 3-17 shooting from three.

Not getting easier

EWU now will play No. 14 Oregon, continuing in the 2K Empire Classic, that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. The Ducks have seven players who are over 6’7” tall, including 7’2” freshman Bol Bol, who is the son of iconic 7’7” NBA player Manute Bol.

Legans said he hopes that the tough nonconference schedule builds confidence for his team moving forward.

“Those games are fun to play,” Legans said. “When you go to places like that and have a chance to play against the best and can hold your own or win games, it’s a lot of fun. These are the things the guys don’t forget.”

The Eagles only home games of the month will be on Nov. 17-18 against Wisconsin-Green Bay and either UMKC or Morehead State. EWU will have another PAC-12 matchup against Washington on Nov. 27.

Senior guard Ty Gibson grew up in the Seattle area a UW fan.

“I want to beat them,” Gibson said. “They didn’t recruit me, so now I want to go beat them.”

EWU has 11 nonconference games in total. Big Sky play begins on Dec. 29 against Weber State at Reese Court.

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Eagles face tough nonconference schedule