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

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

The Daily Eastern News

Eastern overcomes deficit to beat Western Illinois

Lalani+Ellis%2C+a+freshman+guard%2C+dribbles+the+ball+toward+the+hoop+during+the+womens+basketball+game+against+the+Western+Illinois+University+Leathernecks+at+Groniger+Arena+on+Saturday+afternoon.+Ellis+scored+17+points+leading+the+Panthers%2C+had+two+steals+and+went+6-6+on+field+goals.+
Rob Le Cates
Lalani Ellis, a freshman guard, dribbles the ball toward the hoop during the women’s basketball game against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks at Groniger Arena on Saturday afternoon. Ellis scored 17 points leading the Panthers, had two steals and went 6-6 on field goals.

Eastern women’s basketball beat the Western Illinois University Leathernecks 72-63 after the Panthers came back from being down 11 points at the start of the third quarter.  

Both teams started slow, as only 15 points were scored for each side in the first quarter. Eastern then continued the slow start by only scoring two points in the first five minutes of the second quarter.  

Eastern was able to keep the game close with four points at the end of the half from junior forward Taris Thorton. Thorton ended the game with 13 points after going down with a sprained ankle at the end of the second quarter.  

Eastern’s woes were amplified by the fact the three-point shots just wouldn’t fall. The Panthers missed 15 straight three-point shots to start the game and didn’t hit their first one until the fourth quarter. At one point during the third quarter, Eastern was down by 13 points. 

Eventually you’re going to start hitting shots,” junior forward Macy McGlone said. “Like I don’t think we shot as well during the first half, but a lot of us had decent field goal percentages. So, if we keep shooting eventually our misses will turn into makes.” 

A key factor in the second-half comeback for Eastern was freshman guard Lalani Ellis. Like most of the Panthers, she started out slow in the first half, scoring only one point in the half. Ellis turned it up in the second half, finishing the game with 17 and a perfect six of six from the field. 

She said the change in pace was in part from her teammates confidence in her.

“Just my teammates believing in me, telling me that this is what I do, so hearing those words just made me want to play better,” Ellis said. 

The fourth quarter is where the Panthers started to make their shots. Eastern shot 75% from the field during fourth quarter to pull away from the Leathernecks. The Panthers were able to start a 14-7 run in the fourth quarter, which gave them an 11-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter, and they didn’t look back. 

Eastern was able to slow down the Leathernecks offense, holding them to 63 points compared to the 78.5 points they averaged before this game. 

“[The game plan] was basically stick with your man, stay with your team, play as a team,” Ellis said. “And we executed it right, so we did what we had to do.” 

The Panthers improved to 3-2 in conference play while Western Illinois fell to 2-3 in the conference. 

Eastern’s next game will be against 2-12 Lindenwood next Saturday in St. Charles, Missouri. 

 

Patrick Schmitz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Patrick Schmitz
Patrick Schmitz, Sports Reporter
Patrick Schmitz is a freshman sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News. 
Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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