Women’s basketball break eight-game losing streak

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EMU’s Taylor Bird driving to the hoop (Photo courtesy Matt Hicks | MSH Photography).

The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak Saturday by defeating the University of Missouri-Kansas City 74-69 at the Sweeney Recreation Center in Kansas City, Mo.

EMU’s win over the Kangaroos marked their first on the road win this season.

“It was our team coming together and understanding that we need everyone to work together as one to win games and not individually,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “It was great to see that we were communicating offensively and defensively in this game.”

Redshirt senior Miranda Tate suited up and started the game despite injuring her back on an attempted lay-up in the last game against the University of Michigan.

EMU drew first blood on sophomore Amber Bogard’s layup, but the lead did not last long as the Kangaroos scored the next five points to go up 5-2 in the early stages of the game.

The rest of the first half remained close as both teams exchanged baskets.

With eight seconds left in the first half, Bogard made a jump shot in the paint that evened the score at 28 going into the locker room.

Once the second half began, Bogard hit a jumper in the paint to start things off just like in the first half.

The Kangaroos responded by going on a 10-4 run that was spearheaded by UMKC senior Emile Blakesley’s three-point shot and a layup that put them ahead of EMU 40-34, forcing a timeout from Verdi.

Unlike the previous seven games, the Eagles came out of the timeout more determined than ever to put an end to the losing streak, and began to show their full potential that got them to the NCAA Tournament last season.

With 9:23 remaining in regulation, EMU regained the lead at 52-50 on junior Natachia Watkins’ jumper.

However, the Eagles’ lead did not last long again as UMKC regained the lead at 55-52 on sophomore Lexis Hardiek’s three-point make.

That lead would end up being the Kangaroos’ last of the game as EMU went on an 11-5 run to go up 63-60, with 4:54 left in the game.

UMKC attempted to stay in the game, but the Eagles were able to pull out a victory.

EMU was led by Bogard’s career highs in both points (21) and rebounds (8).

“That’s what happens when you have injuries; it’s the next one up,” Verdi said. “Amber [Bogard] took advantage of her opportunity tonight and that is something that we have been tough with her about all along.”

Watkins also had 21 points and a career-high 8 assists.

Despite Tate having to leave the game in the first-half after a hard shot to the nose, she managed to return and chip in 10 points in 17 minutes.

“It was a tough game physically for her [Miranda Tate], but still she came in and provided instant points for us,” Verdi said.

After the game, Verdi said Tate’s nose might have been broken.

UMKC’s top performers were Blakesley with 16 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds and junior Ellise O’ Connor with 14 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

The Eagles outrebounded the Kangaroos 38 to 28.

After a holiday break, the Eagles look to continue to build momentum from their win and hit the road again for two games in the DoubleTree Classic hosted by Tulane University at Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans, La.

EMU will play the Tulane Green Wave Dec. 29 at 1 p.m., and depending on the result of that game will take on either the McNeese State Cowgirls or the Mississippi Rebels Dec. 30 at 1 or 3 p.m.

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