Women’s basketball adds five new faces ahead of season



Guard Lariah Washington, a junior management major, shoots from the free-throw line in the third quarter of the first game in the OVC Tournament in Ford Center in Evansville, In. on Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022. Washingotn scored 17 points and had seven rebounds. The Panthers lost against the Tennessee State Tigers 72-61.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s basketball team was slated to finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference standings this season as senior guard Lariah Washington was named the preseason OVC Player of the Year and head coach Matt Bollant signed a two-year contract extension.

Last season, EIU finished in fifth place as they had an 11-7 OVC (16-14 overall) record.

They earned a trip to the OVC tournament where they lost in the first round to Tennessee State.

Washington was also named to the First Team All-OVC after she averaged 15.6 points per game, scored double digits in 27 out of the 30 games last season, and earned her fourth career double-double.

Washington said she is thankful for her teammates and coaches for pushing her to be the best player she can be as she reflected on being named the OVC preseason player of the year.

“It’s just really cool to be named Preseason Player of the Year,” Washington said. “It’s just a really great honor and I’m very appreciative to be named that.”

Senior forward Morgan Litwiller was named along with Washington to the Preseason All-OVC team. Last season Litwiller recorded the first double-double in her career as she recorded double digit scores in seven games and had 7.2 points per game.

As it is Washington and Litwiller’s senior season, Washington said she hopes they go out with a bang.

“I’m really excited being a senior,” Washington said. “It is a really bittersweet feeling. We’re all excited and you know, me and Morgan being seniors, we just hope this is the best one yet.”

This season, three freshmen join the team along with two transfers, Macy Maglone from UW Milwaukee, and Hannah Purcell from DePaul.

The Panthers go into the season without former senior standout forward Abby Wahl as she graduated last spring.

Coach Bollant also made two hires in Marqus McGlothan and former EIU player Mariah King as assistants for this year’s team.

Washington stated that she is happy with the addition of McGlothan and King for this season.

“Coach Mariah and coach Marqus are a great addition to our coaching staff,” Washington said. “They both know a lot about the game and have just really helped us develop so far this year and I think they can really push us to be a better team.”

The team will begin its season Thursday evening with an exhibition game against Milikin at home. The first official game of the season will be Monday evening as they open up at home against Missouri St. Louis.

Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]