Panthers bounce back, beat Leathernecks


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern junior Abby Wahl attempts a shot against Western Illinois Sunday in Lantz Arena. Wahl recorded her third double-double on the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Eastern won 88-74.

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

Coming off of a tough loss to Northern Illinois Friday afternoon, the Eastern women’s basketball team responded against Western Illinois two days later.

The Panthers beat the Leathernecks 88-74 to move to 2-2 on the season. Western Illinois fell to 0-3.

Eastern head coach Matt Bollant said he was pleased with the way the team bounced back following their loss to the Huskies.

“I thought we competed really hard today,” he said. “You could just see the excitement to play for each other. We were unselfish, the bench was into it and we played with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. And I thought it was a pretty high-level game. I thought both teams played really well today.”

Eastern shot the ball well, especially in the first half when they shot 67.7 percent from the field. The finished the game with a shooting percentage of 53.4 after cooling off a bit in the fourth quarter.

Bollant said that he attributed the shooting success to the team’s confidence level entering the game.

“We shared the basketball, we had a ton of assists in the first half and I thought we moved it really well, just got rhythm shots,” he said.

The Leathernecks shot the ball well also, shooting over 50 percent for much of the game before going 5-of-14 in the fourth quarter. They ended the game shooting 48 percent.

Leading the way in scoring for the Panthers once again was sophomore Lariah Washington with 20 points. She has led the team in scoring in three of the four games this season and is averaging 18 points per game. She also recorded 6 assists in the game.

Junior forward Abby Wahl also continued her productive start to the season, picking up 15 points and 10 rebounds to earn her third double-double on the season already. She did not record a double-double as a freshman or sophomore.

She is averaging 17.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

“She’s top-10 in the country right now in rebounding, had another double-double, so she’s been really consistent with her rebounding and then she’s finishing inside,”Bollant said.

He also said liked the way Wahl defended against Western Illinois forward Evan Zars, who was held to 9 points on 7 shot attempts.

“(Zars) had a double-double against Wisconsin, so I’m just proud of (Wahl) for defending and rebounding, and then defending a really good player today,” Bollant said. “Good to see her make a three, she’s capable of doing the as well, so I thought Abby’s just been playing awesome.”

Eastern will be on the road for its next game against Northwestern, who is currently ranked No. 15 in the nation.

It will be the first game of the season for the Wildcats and it will tip off at 6 p.m. in Evanston.


Adm Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]