The Eastern women’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker Sunday to Stetson on last minute free throws to extend the losing streak to nine games.
This was the first meeting between the two teams and it went down to the wire resulting in a 68-66 win for Stetson. It had been 22 years since Stetson, located in Florida, played in Illinois.
Eastern led for most of the game, but failed to pull away. They fall to 1-9 on the season, while Stetson improves to 6-3. Leading scorers for Stetson were junior Brianti Saunders with 23 points and sophomore Sarah Sagerer with 15 points.
Sophomore Grace Lennox led the way for Eastern as she played the entire game. The sophomore had a team high of 15 points and had six assists. Freshman Halle Stull also had a good performance as she scored 14 points and added two blocks and a steal.
Coach Debbie Black pointed out that Eastern had their share of opportunities to win this game.
“I think we did a good job of getting the ball where we wanted to,” she said. “We got it in the post, but we missed. We missed a lot of layups and that’s the best shot in the game. We executed the things I wanted. I wanted the ball where it was going against a very small post orientated team and we didn’t finish.”
Eastern let the game slip away in the fourth quarter as they were outscored 14 to 8. There was only one lead change the whole game and it came in the fourth quarter. Eastern started off the game on a 10-0 run.
Black took some positives from this last second loss.
“We fought, we haven’t led for that many minutes in a game this season so that’s the positive out of it,” Black said. “I liked the way my team played today. We’re right there. There’s just a little degree of toughness that we have to get to get that win.”
Lennox said she sees no problems with their offensive game. She pointed at the defense when looking back on the loss.
“Offense is fine,” Lennox said. “Everything’s good about our offense, it just comes down to our defense and being disciplined. Staying on the ground instead of jumping in the air and getting those fouls.”
The Panthers now have a full week off in preparation for their matchup against Cincinnati. There are only two non-conference matchups left in the season before Eastern heads into conference play.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]