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

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EIU looks to make OVC championship for first time since 2010

The+EIU+Womens+basketball+bench+gets+excited+as+the+team+scores+and+advances+to+the+next+game+Thursday.
Sia DeyKoontz
The EIU Womens basketball bench gets excited as the team scores and advances to the next game Thursday.

The games are all finished for round two of the women’s basketball Ohio Valley Conference tournament, and the games are now set for the semifinals. 

The No. 4 Panthers are set to face the No. 1 seed University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles. On the other side of the bracket, the No. 3 seed University of Tennessee at Martin is facing the No. 2 seed the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

For Eastern, this is not their first time in the semifinals, as they were just there last year. However, last year they lost to the eventual champions, Tennesse Tech University.  

They are looking to make the championship for the first time since 2010. Eastern was able to win a game in the tournament for the first time since 2020. 

“It’s the first time in a while that we got to put our name in the next spot,” head coach Matt Bollant said. “We didn’t get a chance to do that losing a heartbreaker last year, so it feels good to do that and still play.” 

USI, however, has just gotten to the OVC and Division I. This is their second year in the OVC and the first time in the tournament.  

USI had the second-best conference record in the history of the OVC going 17-1 this season. Even with that, it will not be able to make the NCAA tournament because of a rule not allowing teams that move up a division to compete in the tournament for four years. 

Eastern has a lot to contend with, especially as USI is led by All-OVC first-team junior guard Vanessa Shafford. Shafford averages 14.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. USI is also coached by the OVC coach of the year Rick Stein. 

USI is also based in Evansville, Indiana, where the OVC tournament is located. They have not lost a conference game in Evansville this season. 

Even with all of that, Bollant said he is not worried, as his team will be prepared and ready for their game against USI. 

“Obviously [USI is] playing in their hometown too, so it’s an advantage as well,” Bollant said. “So right now, we’re going to enjoy this for a couple seconds, go back to the hotel and start watching film with them. We know we’re going to play great tomorrow.” 

The Panthers also have an impact player of their own in OVC player of the year and defensive player of the year, junior forward Macy McGlone. McGlone is averaging 18.3 points per game and 12 rebounds a game.

In the first game of the tournament, McGlone had 22 points on nine for 13 shooting, including one for one on threes, and 12 rebounds to give her her 26th double-double.

Eastern and USI have played each other once this season with USI winning 70-60. The Panthers are hoping to avenge their loss, while USI is looking for the same result. 

The game between Eastern and USI starts at 1 p.m. on Friday in Evansville, Indiana. 

 

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

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Patrick Schmitz, Sports Reporter
Patrick Schmitz is a freshman sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News. 

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