EWU Women Head To Big Sky Country To Face Montana Schools - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU Women Head To Big Sky Country To Face Montana Schools

The Eagle women will head to Montana for a clash vs. two of their Big Sky Conference rivals The Eagle women will head to Montana for a clash vs. two of their Big Sky Conference rivals

by EWU Athletics Media Relations

The Eastern Washington women's basketball team will hit the road for the first time in Big Sky play, traveling to Montana for a pair of league contests. Eastern opens play at Montana on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. PST before facing Montana State on Saturday at 1 p.m. PST.

Eastern (6-6, 2-1 Big Sky) is coming off a home sweep of league foes Weber State and Idaho State last weekend. The Eagles had arguably their best defensive performance of the season against the Bengals last Saturday, Jan. 4, holding ISU to 35-percent shooting while forcing 19 turnovers. Idaho State managed just 55 points, only the third time this year that an opponent has scored less than 60 against the Eagles. Eastern is 3-0 in those games.

Sophomore Hayley Hodgins turned in a pair of impressive performances last weekend, averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for the week. She shot 55 percent from the field (12-22), 67 percent from three-point range (8-12) and 90 percent from the free throw line (9-10). She went for a season-high 22 points against Weber State on Thursday, Jan. 2, tying her career highs with five made three-pointers and seven made free throws. She led EWU with 19 points against Idaho State on Saturday, pulling down six rebounds while recording four steals.

EWU continues to be the class of the Big Sky offensively, shooting a league-best 44.4 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from long range. Eastern's field goal percentage is good for 46th nationally while its three-point percentage ranks 24th. The Eagles are shooting an impressive 42.5 percent from downtown in their last five games, making at least six three-pointers in that stretch. Junior guard Lexie Nelson leads the Big Sky and ranks fifth nationally in three-point percentage (48.5) while Hodgins ranks third in the Big Sky, connecting at a 41.7-percent clip from three-point range.

Montana (7-4, 1-1 BSC) has lost three of its last four games prior to Thursday's tilt, having split two Big Sky games last weekend. The Griz are allowing a league-best 62.5 points per game, holding opponents to 36.5 percent shooting while pulling down an average of 1.6 more rebounds per game. Kellie Cole (12.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is the team's top scorer while Torry Hill (11.7 ppg, 5.2 apg) and Jordan Sullivan (11.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are the other two players to average double figures.

Montana State (6-5, 1-1 BSC) is coming off a win over Northern Arizona last Saturday, Jan. 4, after dropping its conference opener to Sacramento State on Thursday. The Bobcats average 72.1 points per game but are allowing opponents to score an average of 72.3 points per game while shooting better than 40 percent from the field. MSU's three-point field goal percentage defense (.288) ranks third in the Big Sky. Ashley Brumwell (12.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) leads the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding while Jackie Elliott (11.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Jasmine Hommes (11.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg) are the team's other offensive threats.