Eastern welcomes Milwaukee Panthers

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

Junior forward Erica Brown prepares to pass the ball during  the Eastern Women’s Basketball game against Western Illinois University on Dec. 2 in Lantz Arena.
Junior forward Erica Brown prepares to pass the ball during the Eastern Women’s Basketball game against Western Illinois University on Dec. 2 in Lantz Arena.

The Eastern women’s basketball team will host 3-3 Milwaukee at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Eastern comes into the game at 1-7 and has lost seven in a row. It is coming off a 76-67 road loss to Omaha last Sunday.

Despite currently being on a losing streak, the Omaha game was the closet loss the Panthers have had all season. Eastern’s first six losses were by double-digits.

The Panthers were able to have success on the boards Sunday, outrebounding Omaha by a margin of 36-30. In their lone win this season, Eastern outrebounded Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis 44-43. They had not outrebounded an opponent since a loss to Loyola-Chicago last month.

Coach Debbie Black said that being consistent on the boards is something the Panthers need to work towards.

“We need be consistent when it comes to getting rebounds,” Black said. “We need to control what we can control. I think it’s very important for us to improve there.”

Eastern is being outrebounded on the season by an average of 42-35.

Also in the Omaha game, Eastern hit 48.2 percent of their field-goal attempts. That was more than the 41.3 percent that Omaha shot at. However Omaha took advantage of more free throw opportunities in the second half, hitting 12-of-15 from the line.

Eastern was 6-of-10 for the entire game.

On the season, Eastern is hitting 37.8 percent of their field goals, including 26.5 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Black said she was happy with the way that her team performed in the Omaha game, but she would like to improve upon it even more.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Black said. “We just couldn’t close it out. We fell behind and had to battle our way back.”

Eastern will be facing a Milwaukee team that is coming off a 69-44 loss at the hands of nationally-ranked Northwestern.

Milwaukee is averaging 60.2 points per game and is allowing 62.7 points per game this season.

They have converted 34.3 percent of their field goal attempts and 27.9 percent of their three pointers.

Milwaukee is led in scoring by sophomore guard Jenny Lindner, who is scoring 13.3 points and grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game.

For Eastern, recent production has come from players who are relatively new to the team.

Freshman forward Halle Stull has propelled herself to third in Eastern’s scoring column with eight points per game this season.

Stull has also made 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from the floor.

Freshman guard Kayla Steward has gradually seen her minutes and numbers rise as she has averaged five points in 13.1 minutes per game.

Black said she likes the way Steward is progressing and said she would like to see it more out of her.

“She’s still adjusting to this level of play,” Black said. “But she seems to be comfortable with this role and she’s done well so far.”

Eastern’s leading scorer is junior forward Erica Brown as she’s averaged 11.3 points, while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor.

Brown has also led Eastern in rebounds with 7.9. Of her 63 total rebounds this season, 16 of them have come on the offensive end, which also leads the team.

Brown and the rest of the Panthers will have a chance to improve upon their own numbers and get their team back on the winning side of the scoreboard when they host Milwaukee Thursday at 6 p.m.


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