Eastern splits opening weekend, wins OT thriller

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

Eastern women’s basketball split its weekend games after defeating Indiana Purdue University- Indianapolis, 77-71 in overtime, Friday and falling short to Memphis, 80-49, Sunday.

In the game against IUPUI, Eastern struggled early on and was behind for almost the whole game.

They went behind by as many as 12 in the third quarter but managed to keep the game within reach.

Sophomore guard Grace Lennox was productive going 8-15 with her team-leading 19 points in 41 minutes to help keep the game close.

Lennox said her team’s effort to keep playing their game plan would give them a chance at some point in the game.

“We did the small things to gradually chip back,” Lennox said. “We knew that if we kept doing things right, that our shots would eventually begin to fall our way.”

Eastern finally took the lead with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter following a three-pointer by senior guard Alece Shumpert to make the score 64-63.

From there, Eastern seemed to have the game within grasp, until IUPUI’s last possession.

After going 1-2 at the free-throw stripe, Eastern extended their lead to 68-65 with just seconds left in regulation. On their ensuing possession, IUPUI converted a three-pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime.

Eastern coach Debbie Black said that despite allowing the last-second shot, her team was still composed and was ready for overtime.

“I’ve been there so many times as a player and a coach,” Black said. “You just have to put it behind you and try again. Everyone was prepared to do that too.”

Eastern went on to outscore IUPUI 9-3 in overtime in their eventual 77-71 victory.

Black said the victory was exactly how she wanted to start the season and could be an indication of what her team is capable of doing.

“I’m so proud of my team for this win,” Black said. “They hung in there and gave themselves a chance to win. I couldn’t ask for more out of them.”

Lennox was on the edge of a triple-double with her nine rebounds and seven assists to go along with her 19 points.

Shumpert recorded 11 points, with three rebounds and three assists, and hit three three-pointers.

Sophomore guard Mariah Madison, junior forward Erica Brown and freshman forward Brittin Boyer all posted double-figures by scoring 14, 12 and 10, respectively.

Eastern converted 41.8 percent of their shot attempts and 76.2 percent of their free throws, outdoing IUPUI’s 37.1 percent from the field and 65 percent at the line.

In the game at Memphis, Eastern had the game within reach just as they did against IUPUI. But, they would lose as the game would continue on.

After the first quarter, Eastern was tied with Memphis, 19-19. In the second and third, Eastern surrendered the lead but still kept the game close enough to make a comeback.

At the end of three the score stood at 51-37, but Memphis used the fourth quarter to pull away in the eventual 80-49 win.

Black said the game was much closer than the final score indicated.

“We were hanging in for most of the game I thought,” Black said. “Memphis just went on a run and we couldn’t answer.”

Despite the loss, Eastern is now 1-1 on the season and where Black said she wanted to be.

“I’m more than happy with where we’re at right now,” Black said. “I’d take this all the time.”

Eastern will host Loyola-Chicago Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena.


Elias Albert can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]