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WOMENâ€™S BASKETBALL LOSES TIGHT GAME TO EWU DESPITE CAREER-HIGH TYING 22 FROM SHEEHY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Eastern Washington scored on each of its last five possessions spanning the final 2:01 of the contest to defeat Sacramento State, 66-63, in a Big Sky Conference women’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at the Hornets Nest.
Eastern Washington, which led by no more than five points during the entire game, took its first lead of the contest at 41-40 with 14:47 remaining. The final 2:01 of the game featured a combined 20 points of scoring as Eastern Washington’s Sydney Benson gave the Eagles a 56-55 lead at the 2:01 mark. Sacramento State’s Ashley Storms then knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Hornets back on top, 57-56, with 1:35 to play.
Eastern Washington’s Phynique Allen answered with her first three-pointer of the game, but the Hornets’ Stephanie Cherry responded with a three-point play to put the Hornets ahead by one point (60-59) with 59 seconds left. Eastern struck again as Brittney Osborn buried a three-pointer to put EWU back up two points. Sacramento State failed to convert on its next possession and Allen knocked down two free throws to give Eastern a 64-60 lead with 16 seconds left.
Jourdan Willard answered by converting 1-of-2 free throws to draw the Hornets within three points (64-61) with seven seconds left. The Eagles’ Ashley Knight, who is a 34.8 percent free throw shooter, was then fouled on the inbounds pass but left the game with an apparent ankle injury. The Eagles replaced Knight with Osborn who is a 76.0 percent free throw shooter, and she calmly knocked down both free throws to put the game away.
With the victory, Eastern Washington kept its slim hopes of a Big Sky Tournament spot alive, and improved to 9-18 overall and 4-10 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State, which was playing its final home game of the season, fell to 3-25 and 1-13 in the conference.
Sacramento State seniors Stephanie Cherry, Kim Sheehy and Storms were honored prior to game for their contributions to the program, and all three played well. In fact, Sheey finished with a career-high tying 22 points (14 in the second half) on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from long range. Storms had four points, seven assists, four rebounds and two blocked shots, and Cherry added 12 points, three assists and two steals.
The Hornets’ defense limited Eastern Washington to a .333 field goal percentage (21-63), while outrebounding the Eagles, 42-36. Sacramento State shot 40.7 percent (22-54) from the field, but turned the ball over 24 times compared to just 15 turnovers for the Eagles. The biggest difference in the game came at the free throw line where Eastern Washington knocked down 18-of-20 free throws attempts (90.0 percent), and the Hornets went 13-of-18 (72.2 percent).
Sacramento State jumped out to a game-high nine point lead (13-4) early in the game and did not trail during the first 25:13 of the contest. The game featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes, and no team led by more then five points the entire second half.
Joining Sheehy and Cherry in double figures for the Hornets was Becca Reams, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Erika Edwards added seven rebounds, and Kelly Vega had seven points and five rebounds.
Three Eagles scored in double figures, comprised of Joanna Chadd (13), Allen (12) and Sydney Benson (10 points, team-high nine rebounds). After shooting just 25.8 percent in the first half and trailing at halftime, 29-27, Eastern Washington shot 40.6 percent in the second half while outscoring the Hornets, 39-34, during the second half.
Sacramento State returns to action for its final road trip of the season next week at Montana (Thursday, March 1) and Idaho State (Saturday, March 3).
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