Panthers earn 47-point conference win

Eastern+freshman+guard+Morgan+Litwiller+dribbles+around+a+defender+in+the+Panthers%E2%80%99+85-38+win+over+Eastern+Kentucky+Thursday+night+in+Lantz+Arena.+Litwiller+scored+16+points+in+the+win.

Dillan Schorfheide | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern freshman guard Morgan Litwiller dribbles around a defender in the Panthers’ 85-38 win over Eastern Kentucky Thursday night in Lantz Arena. Litwiller scored 16 points in the win.

JJ Bullock, Editor-In-Chief

The Eastern women’s basketball team’s game against Eastern Kentucky Thursday night in Lantz Arena seemed pretty well over just minutes after it started. The Panthers opened the game by jumping out to a 9-0 lead under four minutes into the game, which eventually ballooned into an 85-38 win over the Colonels. 

The win improved Eastern to 7-4 in OVC and dropped Eastern Kentucky to 2-9. 

Eastern’s win never really felt in question at any point during the game; from the 9-0 Eastern had to open the game to the 48-16 beatdown Eastern put on Eastern Kentucky in just the second half alone, this was a game where the result felt punched in very early.  

Eastern was helped immensely by the Colonels’ inability to make shots, Eastern Kentucky was 0-of-19 from three-point range and shot just 27.8 percent total from the floor. But, a 47-point conference win is as big as it sounds no matter how you dice it up. 

It was one of the biggest wins senior forward Jennifer Nehls, the longest tenured player on the team, can remember being a part of. 

“Nope I cannot (remember beating an OVC team by 47-points),” Nehls said. “That would be the first time. (It feels) really good. It’s been a long time coming, but I am glad we can get it done now.” 

Nehls had nine points and six rebounds in 25 minutes coming off the bench. Freshman Lariah Washington led Eastern with 17 points in 27 minutes. Morgan Litwiller and Karle Pace each added 16 points in 22 and 26 minutes respectively.  

The blowout win allowed Eastern head coach Matt Bollant to give his entire roster ample playing time. Reserves like guard Paige Schuman, forward Claudia Stan, and guards Jordyn Hughes and Camino Tellez all had over 10 minutes of playing time. 

Eastern’s bench scored 36 points in the game, just two less points than Eastern Kentucky scored as a team.

Eastern shot 52.7 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range. This was the second game in a row for the Panthers in which they beat an OVC opponent by 25 or more points (they beat Austin Peay 76-47 on Saturday).  

“I think having two games in a row where we played well on both ends of the court, and obviously when we make shots it makes it a lot easier,” Bollant said. “I like that we had a lot of players step up today, Karle (Pace), Lariah (Washington), Morgan (Litwiller), I thought Morgan’s threes were really big because they wanted to play zone.” 

Eastern will not carry the momentum of its two big wins into a much tougher matchup against Morehead State (5-6 OVC) in Lantz Arena on Saturday. 

The last time the Panthers won a conference game at home on a Thursday was against Tennessee-Martin on Jan. 23, the following Saturday game, however, the Panthers came out flat and fell to Southeast Missouri 77-65.  

Bollant and the Panthers are going to do everything they can to avoid that same result on Saturday.  

“I said, ‘Hey, enjoy this one tonight, but let’s make sure we’re ready to go tomorrow,’” Bollant said. “Morehead is a very good team; they lost some really close games against top teams, so enjoy this tonight, but tomorrow we have to be focused and ready because Morehead, you’re going to see a little different of a challenge on Saturday.”

 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]