The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team’s rough start to the season continued Tuesday with a heartbreaking 66-65 loss to the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits, putting its record at 1-7.
The first half was a close affair, with the lead never stretching beyond 10 points. The Jackrabbits did not hold a lead after the first seven minutes of the game.
The Eagles managed to go on a small 9-3 run to take the largest lead of the game, 26-16, with 6:37 to go before the break.
The Jackrabbits managed to hang tough though, hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to bring it to 32-29 at halftime.
The second half was much of the same. The teams traded points for most of the first eight minutes until the Eagles managed to build an eight point lead by a score of 49-41 on a three-pointer by Miranda Tate.
The Jackrabbits countered with an 8-1 run to cut the lead down to 52-50 with 8:46 to go.
A Desyree Thomas turnover followed by a three-pointer by the Jackrabbits cut the Eagles lead to 65-64 with 1:13 to go.
After turnovers by both teams and missed free throws by Thomas, the stage was set for late game dramatics.
The Jackrabbits called a timeout with 20 seconds left and SDSU’s
Megan Waytashek made a layup with nine seconds on the clock to put the Jackrabbits up for the first time since the 12:52 mark of the first half.
A missed layup by Thomas at the buzzer sealed the seventh consecutive loss for the Eagles.
In total, the Jackrabbits led for a total of 57 seconds in the game, but they led when it counted most – at the final buzzer.
This loss is just the latest chapter of early season struggles for the Eagles, who haven’t won since their season opening game Nov. 11 versus Northeastern University.
Leading the way for the Eagles was redshirt senior guard Miranda Tate, who scored 24 points, and sophomore forward Amber Bogard who put up season highs in both points (nine) and rebounds (seven).
Coming in short of a double-double was senior center India Hairston with nine points and nine boards.
The Eagles shot a very solid 25-52 (48.1 percent) from the floor, including a stellar 6-10 from deep. They shot 9-16 from the free throw line.
They out-rebounded the Jackrabbits by a 36-31 margin, but also turned the ball over more, 27-22.
Leading the way for the Jackrabbits was Waytashek with three rebounds, three steals, four assists and 17 points, and Ashley Eide who chipped in 15 points.
The Eagles don’t play again until Dec. 11 when they host the University of Michigan Wolverines. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.