Women’s Basketball Defeated at Eastern Washington, 84-58
CHENEY, Wash. – Eastern Washington senior Brianne Ryan, the Big Sky's leading scorer, poured in 29 points and the Eagles shot 52% as a team and forced 25 NAU turnovers in an 84-58 win on Thursday night in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles won their fourth consecutive game, improving to 8-2 in the Big Sky and 14-9 overall while the Lumberjacks moved to 7-15 overall and 2-8 in conference play.
"We did not have good effort and we didn't control the ball in transition, which gave them a ton of easy scores," NAU head coach Laurie Kelly said. "Against good teams if you make mistakes they're going to exploit you, and that's what Eastern did. They played really good team basketball and executed, and that was our plan going in and we did not do that."
NAU jumped to an early 4-0 lead – but that would be its only lead of the game. The Eagles responded with an immediate 11-0 run to build a seven point cushion. Eastern Washington held an 18-10 lead with 10:28 remaining in the opening half, but a 6-0 Lumberjack spurt brought the visitors to within two points at 18-16 with nine minutes remaining in the opening period. NAU would still trail by two with 7:06 to play, but an ensuing 11-2 run gave the home team a 32-19 lead and an eventual 41-27 halftime advantage.
The Lumberjacks would cut their deficit back to single digits with a 10-5 run through the first three minutes of the second half to bring the score to 46-37, but NAU could get no closer. Down 58-46 with 12:58 to play, NAU would go scoreless for more than four minutes as Eastern built its lead up to 19 points. The Eagle lead would reach 20 with 7:05 to play and end at 26 with an 84-58 win.
NAU had two players finish in double-figures, with junior Aubrey Davis totaling 11 points and five rebounds and junior Amy Patton scoring 10 points with seven boards. Ryan had 20 points in the first half and scored her 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting to go with six rebounds and four assists, and Eagle point guard Chene Cooper posted 12 points, nine assists, and six rebounds.
In addition to shooting 52% from the field, the Eagles went 14-of-19 from the free throw line while the Lumberjacks were just 12-of-22 at the stripe. Eastern held a 38-30 rebounding edge, posting 20 assists compared to just nine helpers for the Lumberjacks. NAU shot 41% from the field and was just 2-of-9 from three-point range.
NAU continues its Pacific Northwest road trip at 3 p.m. Saturday at Portland State. The Vikings, the preseason media and coaches' pick to win the Big Sky, improved to 4-5 in the Big Sky and 12-9 overall with a 76-63 home win over Weber State on Thursday.
"When we play bad, it's when we don't play together," added Kelly. "If we don't change our effort and play team basketball we will not have different results. Portland State is a great team with good guards, and transition defense and getting out on shooters will be critical for us again on Saturday.