Behind back-to-back three-point makes in the final minutes of the second half from freshman guard Haley Moore, the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team defeated the Wayne State University Warriors, 85-76 in an exhibition game at the Convocation Center.
Moore scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shots from three-point range and added a game-high of seven assists and managed to shake off several missed shots from earlier in the game.
“This was (Haley’s) first real Division I game,“ EMU coach Tory Verdi said. “We scrimmaged (at practice) but it is nothing like a real game. When we need them, she was there to knock them down.”
Freshman guard Cha’Ron Sweeney led the way for EMU with 20 points on 7-of-18 shots and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line to go along with three steals.
Freshman guard Janay Morton put together an all-around effort with 14 points, four steals and rebounds teamed with three steals.
Returning from a knee injury, which sidelined her for most of last season, redshirt junior forward Olivia Fouty scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shots and went 1-of-3 from three-point range to go along with five rebounds in 23 minutes.
Senior guard/forward Natachia Watkins rounded out the main stat sheet with four points— all on free throw makes and grabbed a team-high ten rebounds.
For the Warriors, junior center Shareta Brown had a game-high 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds and fouled out with 58.8 seconds left in regulation.
Senior guard/forward Imari Redfield added a double-double with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 10 rebounds in a game-high 33 minutes played.
Sweeney scored the first points for the Eagles on a tip-back make off of a missed shot from senior guard Desyree Thomas to make it 2-2 in the early stages of the game.
Shortly after the make, the Eagles began to struggle as they were not able to find their touch on offense early with misses on lay-ups and three-point attempts.
The scoring went back and forth until at 11 all, Wayne State went on an 21-5 run which lasted almost 10 minutes in the first half.
“We weren’t making shots early on, so it became a half-court game,” Verdi said. “It wasn’t until we started making shots when we could get into our press and mix it up a little bit, so that (Wayne State) could unravel a little bit.”
With EMU down 30-16 and no answer for Brown’s back-to-the-basket game, she got into foul trouble with three in the first half and things began to turn around after she was taken out of the game by WSU head coach Carrie Lohr.
The full-court trap gave the Warriors issues, The Eagles were able to close the half on a 21-9 run to put them within two points of the lead.
Both teams exchanged leads until Thomas’s three-point make broke the tie and the Eagles took the lead at 50-47 and never looked back as they were able to fight off a couple of runs by the Warriors.
Sweeney and Morton played the most minutes for EMU with 30.
The attendance was never announced.
EMU’s regular season home opener will be Fri. Nov. 8 when they take on the Madonna University Crusaders at 2:30 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.
Verdi hopes to see progress by his team in the opener. “I am looking for some carryover and for our veterans to really step it up again,” Verdi said. “Not fouling as much and playing solid defense is something I also will be looking for.”
Junior guard Rachel Melcher is a player to watch out for the Crusaders. Melcher was named to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference preseason all-conference team in a vote of the league’s head coaches on Oct. 16.
You can follow the game online at emueagles.com or hear it on WEMU 89.1 FM.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.