Eagles offense is on a roll

Eastern Michigan and Rochester College players wrestle for the ball Wednesday.

With Wednesday’s 108-24 victory over Rochester (USCAA), the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team has been piling up the points in each of its seven victories this season.

The 108 points is the most this year for the Eagles (7-2), but they’ve also turned out efforts of 93, 87 and 83 — all wins. In fact, the Eagles’ scoring average is up 13 from last season as they only averaged 62.9 and went 8-21.

This year EMU has averaged 76.2, but is scoring an average of 83 in its wins. It has outscored opponents this season 686-510.

One of the reasons the Eagles have been so successful is due to the hot hand of sophomore guard Tavelyn James.

James is averaging 22.4 points, which was helped greatly Wednesday when she set the program record for points in a game with 39.

Laurie Bird set the previous record with 37 on Dec. 12, 1981.

“I try to do a lot to help my team win no matter if I score or not,” James said.

For coach AnnMarie Gilbert and James it’s clear who the leader of the team is: Cassie Schrock. Schrock had eight assists Wednesday and her average is nearly eight, which is fifth best in the nation.

“Cassie Schrock has done so much behind the scenes to get these kids to believe,” Gilbert said. “A lot of people said we’d be good in a few years, but Cassie has convinced these girls they can be good now.”

Added James: “We are together as a team and we have a great leader in Cassie Schrock.”

Schrock is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4, but didn’t take a shot and was one of three Eagles without a point Wednesday.

With just three nonconference games left, EMU is guaranteed to head into conference play with a winning record and that sets well for the team.

“We feel like we can win our side,” James said of the Mid-American Conference West division. “We’re going to shock everyone with this season.”

The Eagles play again Dec. 21 when they travel to Chicago State.

Education day provides winning atmosphere
It may not have been the crowd noise that affected Rochester, but it certainly didn’t hurt. There were 2,039 screaming fans, mostly elementary students representing 16 local schools, on hand for the Eagles’ victory.

“It was the best atmosphere we’ve ever had,” Gilbert said. “What do we have to do to get this kind of crowd every home game? I don’t care if they’re kids, it was fun.”

This was the fifth year EMU has held education day. It was the third time the women have played. Last year the men’s team defeated Marygrove.

The crowd was the third largest crowd the Eagles have played in front of this season, with away visits to Notre Dame (8,024) and Temple (3,597). Wednesday’s crowd was also the largest at home in the three-year tenure of Gilbert.

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