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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Eastern women lose close game to Morehead State

Sia DeyKoontz
Junior Guard Miah Monahan About to score a point against Morehead on Thursday 11,2024, In Groniger Arena. Pathers lost 67-69

Eastern women’s basketball was tied 67-67 with nine seconds on the clock against the Morehead State University Eagles. Sophomore guard Ellie Buzzelle had hit back-to-back three-pointers with less than a minute left to tie the game up. The ball was in the Eagle’s possession after the two teams used one timeout a piece.

As play resumed, chaos in the paint led to an alleged travel by sophomore guard Hallie Rhodes from Morehead State. There was no call, yet Head Coach Matt Bollant believes he saw the travel.

“We wanted a foul,” Bollant said. “Whether [Rhodes] traveled or not, we put ourselves in a situation where it’s a tight game with a few seconds left. It’s a dangerous situation to be in.”

Seconds later, Rhodes hit a layup putting the score at 69-67 with three seconds left.

Eastern went to their hot hand in Buzzelle when they got the ball back. Ultimately, her missed jumper with no time remaining led to the Panther defeat.

“The last play I just kind of said ‘If I get an open look, I’m letting it fly,’” Buzzelle said. “Luckily, I did get an open look, don’t really know how they didn’t trail me, but I did have a wide-open three at the end. Those are shots I make every day.”

Eastern started the game slow against Morehead, being down by 10 going into the second quarter. The Eagles had put up nine unanswered points within the last three and a half minutes. This shooting streak put the score at 24-14 at the end of the first.

Bollant emphasized better defense to drop Morehead’s lead.

“Coach literally just said ‘It’s about our defense,’” junior guard Miah Monahan said. “They weren’t doing anything special. We just had to lock in and give our best effort.”

The second-quarter adjustment proved successful, as the Panthers cut the lead down to a single point by halftime. Morehead State’s decreased lead was thanks in large part to sophomore guard Charita “Tiny” Lewis. With six seconds on the clock, Lewis hit a long three-pointer to make the score 36-35 in favor of Morehead State going into halftime.

“After she made that three, I think it gave us confidence coming out,” Buzzelle said. “First half we had a couple threes, but in the second half, we made way more. So, I think that opened up our shooting spree on the three-point line, let it fly a little bit more.”

The third quarter was back and forth, with both teams trading blows. Morehead maintained the lead the entire quarter, despite taking heavy hits from the Panther offense. The quarter ended 53-50.

The fourth quarter saw an Eastern offensive surge, taking the lead in the early minutes.

“We were just thinking ‘Extend the lead,’” Monahan said. “We knew we could do this, we just had to extend the lead.”

Neither team could break away. Both teams were within four points of each other until the final two minutes. Morehead put up five unanswered, which put the score at 67-61. Buzzelle was able to tie the game when she hit two three-pointers in the final minute.

Bollant reflected on his team’s performance postgame, noting that they would focus on playing harder in upcoming games.

“If you want to hit a home run, you got to touch first base,” Bollant said. “Touching first base is playing hard. we didn’t do a good enough job of that.”

The loss puts the Panthers at 5-12 on the season and 2-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play. Morehead State is now 8-7 on the season and 3-1 in OVC play.

Eastern women’s basketball will be playing again on Saturday. The game will be played at 1 p.m. at First Mid Court at Groniger Arena.


Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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