Panthers hit road for Compass Tournament


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Kira Arthofer attempts to drive by a defender with help from a screen by forward Abby Wahl in Eastern’s game against Evansville on Nov. 20 in Lantz Arena. Arthofer had 16 points and 4 steals in the game, which Eastern won 85-74 in double overtime.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s basketball team will be playing in a tournament for the second-straight weekend as they travel to play in the Compass Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

The tournament is hosted by Western Illinois this season and will get underway Friday at 3 p.m. when Eastern plays Southern Illinois. Western Illinois and Northern Illinois will play at 6 p.m., with the winners and losers of each game playing each other Saturday. 

Eastern is coming off a trip to Hawai’i where they played in the University of Hawai’i Tournament. The Panthers went 0-3 in the tournament, losing to Hawai’i, Gonzaga and Utah, to drop their record to 4-3 on the season. 

Eastern is led offensively by junior guard Lariah Washington with 15 points per game. She is also shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three-point range this season. 

Senior guard Kira Arthofer is averaging 9.6 points per game, the third-most on the Panthers, while also leading the OVC with 5.1 assists per game. 

Freshman guard Julia Bengston was just named OVC Freshman of the Week after averaging 12.3 points per game over the last week. She set a new career high with 16 points on Nov. 28 and has scored in double figures in three of the last four games.

Eastern is averaging 70.6 points per game and allowing 65.3 points per game.

The Panthers have beaten Western Illinois and lost to Northern Illinois in each of the last two Compass Tournaments.

Their last game against Southern Illinois was a 73-59 loss on Dec. 8, 2018. 

Southern Illinois has played just three regular season games this season, the fewest of any team in the tournament. The Huskies are 1-2 in those games. 

They opened the season with a 10-point loss to No. 15 Tennessee and won their last game against Southeast Missouri on Nov. 30. 

The Salukis are averaging 57.7 points per game this season and allowing 62.3. 

They have three players scoring in double figures this season, led by forward Abby Brockmeyer with an average of 13 points per game. She is also leading the team with 9.3 rebounds per game. 

Host Western Illinois is coming into the tournament with a 5-2 record so far. The Leathernecks had a five-game losing streak snapped in their last game, a 63-59 loss to Incarnate Word. As a team, the Leathernecks are scoring 75 points per game while allowing 59.1 points per game. They are also shooting 42.2 percent from the field as a team. 

Senior guard Danni Nichols leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game. Senior forward Evan Zars is leading the Leathernecks with 8.1 rebounds per game while also scoring 9.3 points. 

Northern Illinois is off to a 3-1 start this season with their only loss coming against Harvard on Nov. 14. All three of their wins have been by 17 or more points. 

The Huskies are averaging 69.8 points per game this season and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 10 points per game. 

They are led by junior guard Chelby Koker with 19 points per game this season. Junior forward A’jah Davis is averaging a double-double for the Huskies with 14 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. 


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