Eagles force 21 turnovers, but fall to North Dakota 81-79 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eagles force 21 turnovers, but fall to North Dakota 81-79

Photo: EWU Athletics Photo: EWU Athletics

By Eastern Washington Athletics

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A four-game winning streak was snapped for the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team on Thursday (Jan. 25) night, as North Dakota edged the Eagles 81-79. EWU trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the comeback fell just short.

"This is a tough loss but I am really proud of our team for battling back the way we did after a slow start. There were a lot of factors against us tonight that I think particularly showed up on the defensive end," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "North Dakota is very good basketball team and it's a tough environment to play in so it's tough to come up short right at the end, but in the last three minutes they made some big shots and got some big rebounds."
 
Violet Kapri Morrow scored 28 points on the night, a new career-high. Delaney Hodgins added 25, and she is now just 30 points away from the all-time scoring record at Eastern Washington. Symone Starks was the other Eagle in double-figures with 13 points. EWU shot 40.3 percent on the night and forced 21 turnovers while only committing eight themselves.  
 
Eastern took an early first quarter lead after four points from Delaney Hodgins, but struggled from the field making just one of their next eight field goal attempts while the Fighting Hawks went on a 10-0 run, outscoring EWU 26-15 in the first quarter.
 
Eastern fired off a quick five points to start the second frame thanks to a Mariah Cunningham jumper and a three-pointer from Brittany Klaman. From there, the Eagles struggled to cool UND down, who finished the half shooting 63 percent from the field on 12-for-19 shooting. Violet Kapri Morrow would score her 13th point at the buzzer as the Eagles trailed by seven after two quarters.
 
The Eagles bounced back in the third, shooting 60 percent to the Fighting Hawks 40 percent. Both teams would enter foul trouble, trading chances at the free throw line the majority of the second half, taking a combined 60 attempts throughout the game. A Hodgins' jumper in the third would cut UND's lead to just six points and EWU outscored the Fighting Hawks 21-20 in the third.
 
Eastern Washington continued to chip away at UND's lead in the fourth. With less than four minutes remaining, Cunningham made a layup and was fouled, completing the three-point play to tie the game 71-71. That was when North Dakota went on a quick five-point spurt to lead by five with a minute and a half left. Starks would find the open lane and cash in on a layup with four seconds remaining, but the Eagles would fall just short 81-79.
 
WIN-LOSS RECORDS: The loss snaps a four-game win streak for Eastern, who moves to 10-10 overall and 5-3 in Big Sky play. North Dakota improves to 10-9 and 3-5 in the conference. With UND's move to The Summit League next season, tonight marked the final regular season contest between the two foes, with the all-time series at 6-4 in the Fighting Hawks' favor.
 
TOP PERFORMANCES: Violet Kapri Morrow paced the Eagles with a career-high 28 points, her fourth game of over 20 points this season, also adding three steals. Delaney Hodgins added 25 points for her 17th straight game in double figures and her 10th 20-plus point performance of the season. Symone Starks added 13 points, followed by Mariah Cunningham who had eight. Hodgins also went 13-for-14 from the free throw line, a career-high.
 
KEY STATISTICS: Eastern Washington forced 21 turnovers and only committed eight, while grabbing 10 steals. They shot over 40 percent on the night, but UND shot 57.1. EWU was also outrebounded 36-22. North Dakota led for 35:50 and the game was tied for just 1:28.
 
SOARING TO THE TOP: After scoring 25 points tonight, Delaney Hodgins now has 1,836 career points. She now needs just 30 more points to break the all-time career scoring record at Eastern Washington of 1,865 set by her older sister Hayley Hodgins. She has one 30-point performance in her career.
 
UP NEXT: Eastern Washington travels to Northern Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 27 for an 11 a.m. PT tip-off. They return to Reese Court to host Sacramento State (Feb. 1) and Portland State (Feb. 3).

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