Eastern women’s basketball falls to Western

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Eastern women’s basketball falls to Western

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

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Eastern’s women’s basketball team fell short to Western Illinois by a final score of 92-69 Wednesday night in Lantz Arena.

With the loss, Eastern falls to 1-6 and is now on a six-game losing streak since winning its opening game of the season.

Coach Debbie Black said her team struggled to perform the way they needed to for a win.

“I’m very disappointed in how we played,” Black said. “We have to get back together as a group and rethink our approach to the game.”

Eastern did not lead at any point during the game, as Western went on an early offensive tear.

Western was up by double-digits at one point in the first quarter, but Eastern managed to bring the game back to within striking distance, 23-14, despite its slow start.

The second quarter was closely contested as senior guard Shakita Cox and freshman guard Kayla Steward knocked down back-to-back threes near the end of the half.

With the score standing at 44-32 in favor of Western at halftime, Eastern had actually been more efficient when it came to field-goal percentage.

Eastern was hitting 50 percent of their shots compared to Western’s 42.5 percent. But Eastern was being outshot 40-28.

In the second half, Eastern remained within 15 points for the majority of the third quarter, but would see its deficit grow as Western took the game over.

Eastern was outscored 48-37 in the second half despite numerous signs of a potential comeback.

Black said her team found ways to get themselves back into the game but Western had too many answers.

“We were pretty even with them in the second half,” Black said. “It seemed like every time we’d catch them, they’d come back down the floor and make a shot.”

Many of the Western’s baskets that added to their lead were near the basket, as they outscored Eastern 53-36 in the paint.

Black said she liked the energy her team exerted at points, but that the total points allowed are unacceptable.

“You can’t let somebody score 92 points on you,” Black said. “That’s the most disappointing part of the game.”

Despite the difficult outcome for Eastern, Steward had her first breakout game of the season as she posted 18 points off 8-13 shooting, all off the bench. She also hit two threes

Steward said her success on the evening was result of the work she has put in and the confidence her coach instills in her.

“I’ve been practicing hard,” Steward said. “Coach (Black) has been on me lately. It feels good to know that my coach has enough confidence in me to go out and play the way I did.”

Steward’s 24 minutes more than doubled her season average of 9.8.

Black said she was happy with Steward’s performance and said she likes the development she’s seen in her freshman.

“I’ve seen the progression in practice,” Black said. “It’s taken her a minute to get there, but she’s starting to understand some things.”

The only other double-digit scorer was Cox, who posted 14 points off a 6-16 shooting performance.

Junior forward Erica Brown fouled out of the game three minutes into the fourth quarter with six points and eight rebounds.

Eastern will have a chance to end their losing streak as they travel to 4-2 Omaha on Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

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