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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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EIU senior Emily Meidel played a critical role in win against TSU

Senior forward Emily Meidel ready to shoot the ball during the game against Tennessee State at the OVC tournament. (Sia DeyKoontz)

A sense of joy took hold of the players on the Eastern women’s basketball team after their 60-48 win over Tennessee State University. The win meant the Panthers are advancing in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, playing number one seed University of Southern Indiana on Friday. 

Yet, for one player on the team, losing meant more than just heading back to Charleston.

Senior forward Emily Meidel walked into the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, knowing a loss meant never playing collegiate basketball again. 

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Meidel said. “I’m just trying to take every game as something to be thankful for and cherish this opportunity with the team, play like it could be the last.” 

Meidel’s year has been a tale of two halves.

In the first 15 games, Meidel averaged 7.7 minutes a game. While 7.7 is low, it was still a step up from her 2023 season. She recorded 6.9 minutes per game that year. 

Shortly after the halfway point in 2024, Meidel’s minutes exploded. She averaged 19.5 minutes a game over the last 15 games. 

Eastern’s head coach Matt Bollant made the decision to play Meidel more based on her intellectual ability, he said. 

“The one thing is that she’s incredibly smart, and she can play so many spots,” Bollant said. “We joke that Emily has never made a B in her life, and that translates to basketball as well. We put her in different spots; she really plays the two through four.” 

Her increase in playing time led to her playing 21 minutes in the first OVC tournament game of her career. Her minutes were cut short at the 4:16 second mark of the third quarter. Meidel suffered a knee injury and limped off the court. 

“I just fell hard on my knee,” Meidel said. “Pain for a second but I was able to get back out there.” 

Miedel indeed came back shortly at the start of the fourth quarter. 39 seconds in, she drained a three-pointer. On top of that, Meidel got eight rebounds in the second half while having 11 total in the game. 

“Emily in the second half giving us some rebounding, for her to have 11 rebounds, I’m just proud of that,” Bollant said. 

The Panther win means Meidel will play again, extending her basketball career by at least one more game.  

 

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

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