4th quarter struggle leads to OVC semifinal loss for EIU


Ashanti Thomas

Macy McGlone (33), Lariah Washington (22), and their head coach Matt Bollant, answer questions for a post-game interview after their loss against Tennessee Tech at the Ohio Valley Conference championships Friday afternoon.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

EVANSVILLE, IND. – After a back-and-forth game with Tennessee Tech, EIU lost 66-61 in the semifinal game at the OVC Tournament in Evansville, Ind.

The game started out with a 11-2 run by Tennessee Tech, but Eastern was able to get back in the game and kept it nearly even for the remainder of the game.

The Panthers gained momentum and trailed by just one point going into halftime. They went on to score 20 points in the third quarter and had a five-point lead as they went into the fourth quarter.

EIU had begun to work a system for getting buckets as they were able to get some strong passes down low to Macy McGlone who ended up leading the team with 21 points. This allowed them to go 10-12 for shots as they shot 83.3% from the field in the third quarter.

Trouble began for EIU in the middle of the fourth quarter.

As they had a 10-point lead with about six minutes remaining, Tennessee Tech was able to make some stops and get back to the even playing field that there was previously in the game. Tech’s strong offense and defense led to them stopping the Panthers from scoring in the last three minutes as they went on a 7-0 run to close out the game.

Tennessee Tech’s head coach Kim Rosamond said the team had to come together to figure out a way to stop McGlone.

“We had a little tough time guarding in the paint today,” Rosamond said. “Macy McGlone, she’s just a force.”

She said the team felt winded in the third quarter as EIU went on to gain the lead.

Rosamond also said the press they began in the later half of the season is what has helped turn their season around. She said it was also a factor in this game.

“That was a big key to this game was ball pressure,” Rosamond said. “We had to have ball pressure and I thought we did a great job of that. But the turning point of the game was the last five minutes when we went back to the press.”

Head coach Matt Bollant said he was proud of the team’s perseverance after the 11-2 start to the game. He said the team put themselves into a good position in the second half, but was unable to get things done.

“We just didn’t get enough stops down the stretch,” Bollant said. “We turned it over a couple of times and didn’t get as quite as good of shots as we could have gotten that fourth quarter.”

The team scored just 10 points to Tech’s 20 in the fourth quarter.

Bollant said that once Tech gained the momentum as they began the 7-0 run, it was hard to get them stopped.

“I felt like they got some momentum back,” Bollant said. “We just struggled to get the momentum stopped once they started going on a run. Give them credit, I felt like their two seniors really stepped up and made some great plays. But yeah, it just felt like with the momentum going against us, we just didn’t get that play to stop it.”

EIU statistically had a good game as McGlone recorded the double-double with her 21 points and 11 rebounds. Lariah Washington had a strong presence on the court as she recorded 20 points. They had 44 points in the paint and had 13 second chance shots.

Washington said the team was confident coming into the game that they were going to take the win.

“We really wanted to win the game,” Washington said. “We were all confident that we were going to, so we were all just going as hard as we could in every play. So yeah, we had the mentality to do whatever we could to win, but it just didn’t go our way.”

Washington said she came into the game knowing they had to play their best basketball and the mentality was to win the game.

“Going into this game, me and Macy knew that we had to play a good game,” Washington said. “So, I just think we had that mentality coming into the game. We wanted to win more than anything. So even though we played a decent game, we just didn’t get the result we wanted.”

McGlone said she was not worried about the stats in the game, but she said it felt good to be able to contribute to the team. She said at the end of it all, the game is about who takes the win.

“I mean, I guess it felt pretty good,” McGlone said. “But in the end, it is about winning. So, I’m glad both of us could contribute so much, but I wish we could have contributed a little more.”

McGlone and Washington had a season to remember as they averaged 13.3 and 15 points per game, respectively, in the regular season. They also led the team in rebounds per game. McGlone had 7.1 and Washington had 5.8. Along with a supportive starting five and a deep bench, EIU had a strong season.

The team certainly had a historic season and were the team to beat for a majority of the conference season. The Panthers went on a 13-0 run in conference for the first time in history and they scored 66.9 points per game compared to their opponents’ 59.4 per game. They ended the season 21-8 under the reins of sixth year head coach Bollant.


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