The Eastern Michigan University’s women’s basketball team opened its 2010-2011 season on Friday with an 82-64 win over the University of Loyola-Chicago at the Convocation Center.
The Eagles relied heavily on the three pointer, making 8-of-19 for a 42.1 percentage beyond the arc. Senior guards Cassie Schrock and De’Ja Wills combined for six of those three-pointers, earning three each. Wills shot 75 percentage from the perimeter and grabbed three rebounds for Eastern.
After a slow first half, a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Monica Albano gave Loyola a one-point advantage over Eastern with 16 minutes left to play. A pair of free throws by freshman forward Olivia Fouty gave EMU a point advantage over Loyola. Three plays later, a steal by freshman guard Natachia Watkins would lead to a three pointer by Wills. A nine-point run for the Eagles would set the pace for the rest of the game.
Patience helped the Eagles to win the game, “We had to take it one step at a time and be patient,” said Fouty.
In her first collegiate regular-season game, Fouty put on a stellar performance. She recorded four rebounds, a steal and four rebounds which helped the Eagles advance their record to 1-0 on the young season.
The Eagles were led by senior guards, Schrock and Tavelyn James who put up 16 points each. Not far behind was junior forward Paige Redditt with 14 points. Senior guard Sydney Huntley also pitched in with 11 points.
The Eagles came out to take a 7-4 lead early in the first half. This was “the product of confidence” according to freshman guard Desyree Thomas.
“We were pretty confident coming into this game,” Thomas said.
A freethrow and layup for the Ramblers, on top of a couple of Eastern turnovers, allowed the teams to be tied 7-7. Loyola controlled the rest of the half. It expanded its lead to five points, its largest of the game, after a three-pointer by guard Lindsey Sebetic. The score would even up twice, however, Loyola held the reigns and went into the break with a 25-23 edge over Eastern.
The story of the first half for EMU was its defense.
“Defense is what keeps us in,” said Schrock, “it’s always our goal to keep the defense intact because it starts our offense.”
Schrock led the Eagles defensively and posted her second consecutive double-double on a season opener, adding 10 rebounds and three steals to her 16 points. Senior forward Kristin Thomas added six rebounds, two steals and a block for Eastern. Redditt also pitched in with five rebounds. This defense is what Coach AnnMarie Gilbert describes as the “bread and butter” of the team.
The Eagles came out by storm in the second half, opening with a rebound and layup by Thomas. Another steal by Thomas led to a three pointer by Schrock.
“Schrock hit a big three and I knew we were on our way,” Coach Gilbert said.
Seven of the first nine points in the second half went to the Eagles as they took control of the game.
The Ramblers were led by Sebetic who posted 20 points and four rebounds on the night. Following was junior forward Ellen Ayoub with 16 points and three rebounds. Their defensive efforts were led by senior guard Brittany Boeke who recorded a steal, a block and four rebounds.
The Eagles will suit up next to play the Ohio State Buckeyes at 2 p.m on Sunday, Nov. 14 in Columbus, Ohio.