Panthers go .500 during Thanksgiving break

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Kevin Hall

Jalisha Smith, a freshmen forward, attempts a lay-up with two defenders trailing in the women’s basketball game Saturday against Kansas City in Lantz Arena.

Bob Reynolds, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s basketball team split its four games during Thanksgiving break, which included three road games and a home game.

The Panthers played in the North Texas tournament at North Texas University from Nov. 21-23.

Eastern ran into a hot-shooting Florida State team in its first game of the tournament and lost 91-55.

The Seminoles shot 58 percent in the game, also shooting 8-of-10 from the 3-point line in the first half.

The Panthers shot their best of the season with making 55 percent of their field goals in the game, but were 2-of-7 from the 3-point line.

In the Panthers’ second game of the North Texas tournament, they defeated the Mean Green in overtime 59-57, after coming back from 12 points down in the second half.

That was Eastern’s first overtime win since 2012, when it defeated Sacramento State 72-67.

The Panthers struggled in the first half against North Texas, shooting 33 percent from the field and did not make any of their 3-point attempts.

In the comeback attempt, the Panthers held the Mean Green to four points in overtime on just 1-of-9 shooting and held them to 10-of-26 shooting in the second half.

Eastern shot 16-of-30 in the second half and over time combined.

Sabina Oroszova finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds on 8-of-16 from the floor and had five steals in the game. Arnisha Thomas finished the game with 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting, leading the Panthers to their first win of the season.

Grace Lennox finished with seven points and six assists in the victory for Eastern.

In the lone home game during the break, the Panthers took on a struggling Northern Illinois team.

The Panthers shot 44 percent in their 55-46 win at Lantz Arena, the day before Thanksgiving.

Eastern forwards Oroszova and Erica Brown led the Panthers with 16 points apiece on 11-of-20 shooting combined, including 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

The Panthers led for a total of 38:52 in the game and were up by 15 at one point.

Eastern shot 70 percent from the free throw line, and Lennox made all seven of her attempts at the free throw line.

Finally, in Chicago, the Panthers took on Loyola-Chicago, which coach Debbie Black called a winnable game for her team.

The Panthers struggled mightily from the floor as they shot 28 percent, which included 6-of-22 in the first half in the 63-52 loss.

Eastern did convert 23-of-30 attempts from the free throw line, but struggled from the 3-point line as they shot 3-of-11.

Oroszova finished the game 2-of-13 from the floor.

With the Panthers not having a game until 6 p.m. Friday at Lantz Arena against Nebraska-Omaha, Black said the one thing she wants her team to work on is its offense.

The Panthers are averaging 53 points per game –  the fewest out of 12 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]