Eagles hold off Vikings to complete crucial home sweep - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eagles hold off Vikings to complete crucial home sweep

EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – Another home stand ends on a high note for Eastern Washington women's basketball team, who picked up a 64-57 victory over Portland State on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 3) in Reese Court.
 
A game that saw 10 lead changes and eight ties ended in EWU's favor, thanks to 31 turnovers forced. In addition, the Eagles had 19 assists and only nine turnovers on 38.5 percent shooting (25-for-65). Delaney Hodgins led the way with 27 points, followed by Violet Kapri Morrow who had 15 and Mariah Cunningham who had 13. Symone Starks added seven steals, tying her career-high and her own program record for steals in a single game.
 
It was Cunningham who was the hero of the fourth quarter. Only up by two points with three minutes remaining, the senior came off the bench and exploded on a 9-0 run of her own, helping Eastern Washington hold off the Vikings for the Big Sky Conference victory.
 
"We played with a lot of energy, 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," said head coach Wendy Schuller. "We aren't good when we defend in low energy mode, we got after it today. Our defense was extremely scrappy and our players did the talking on the floor with how hard they play and how they play together."
 
The Eagles opened the first quarter with eight-straight unanswered points and used a 12-3 run to lead 16-12 after one quarter. The second quarter alone saw two ties and one lead change as the two teams traded baskets. PSU took its first lead of the game with two minutes remaining in the half and were able to hold it heading into the locker room.
 
A quick 4-0 run from the Eagles helped put them back up after the third quarter, thanks to Morrow and Hodgins who each put up 10 points in the third.
 
Eastern Washington strung together runs of 4-0 and 6-0 in the final 10 minutes as they shot 57 percent in the fourth quarter alone, but Portland State was able to hang in within three points for the majority of the frame. Cunningham then came off the bench and helped the Eagles finish it off, scoring nine straight unanswered points. She ended the night with 13, just one shy of her career high, on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting.  
 
WIN LOSS RECORDS: Eastern Washington moves to over .500 with the victory, sitting at 12-11 overall and 7-4 in the conference. Portland State drops their second straight, falling to 11-10 and 5-5. The all-time series sits at 35-25 in Eastern's favor, including a 20-8 all-time record at Reese Court.
 
WHAT IT MEANS: The Eagles are now back on track with a two-game win streak before heading back out on the road for three straight games. Eastern Washington fell to PSU back on Jan. 4 by 15 points, leaving the series split for the season. The win puts EWU in a two-way tie for third place in the conference standings with Montana State, who they play on Feb. 17.
 
KEY STATISTICS: Eastern was able to come away with the win despite shooting 38.5 percent to Portland State's 42.9. The Eagles were also outrebounded 45-24, but they forced 31 turnovers and only committed nine while totaling 22 steals.
 
TOP PERFORMERS: Both Delaney Hodgins and Violet Kapri Morrow continue their double digit scoring streaks. Hodgins led the way with 27 points, her second-straight 20 plus point performance and extends her double digit scoring streak to 19 games.
 
Morrow added 15, 10 of which came in the third quarter, to extend her streak to nine. Mariah Cunningham added 13 points, one shy of her career-high.
 
Symone Starks dished out seven assists to go with seven steals, five rebounds and five points. Brittany Klaman had five assists while Hodgins added five steals.
 
UP NEXT: Eastern Washington returns to action on Friday, Feb. 9, at Idaho with a 5 p.m. tip as a part of a double header with the men's team. They then travel to Montana (Feb. 15) and Montana State (Feb. 17) before closing out the home portion of the schedule the following weekend.

ROAD TO 2,000: Delaney Hodgins, who set Eastern Washington's all-time career scoring record on Feb. 1, now has 1,906 career points. With six regular season games remaining, she looks to be the first Eagle ever to join the 2,000 point club and just the fourth player in Big Sky history. She currently sits at sixth on the BSC career scoring list.

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