EMU women off to their best start since the 2004-05 season

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EMU forward Natachia Watkins (50) goes in for the lay up against Lawrence Tech Tuesday afternoon.

Over winter break, the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team went 4-0 improving its mark to 11-1 and 1-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

At the Seawolves Holiday Classic in Stony Brook, N.Y. hosted by Stony Brook University, EMU swept both games and were led by seniors Desyree Thomas and Natachia Watkins.

Thomas’s 28 points and Watkins’ 22 were enough for a 69-56 win against Wagner College on Dec. 21 and a 64-53 over Monmouth University on Dec. 22 extended an EMU win-streak to two and three games.

Shooting 31.5 percent from the field, the Eagles managed to hold off Wagner on Saturday, who shot 39.6 percent. EMU made two more free throws on two fewer attempts.

Freshman guard Cha Sweeney led EMU’s offense with 18 points, including 14 in the second half.

Despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field, she was 8-for-8 from the free throw line and 2-for-3 on three-point shots.

Watkins put up 12 first-half points and freshman guard Haley Moore chipped in with a pair of three-pointers to help EMU take a 39-27 lead into the locker room at the end of the first half.

Trailing by 15 with 3:29 left in the second half, Monmouth tried to rally by cutting down EMU’s lead to eight after Kasey Chambers hit a three-pointer with 51 seconds left. The Eagles avoided the potential comeback by going 7-for-8 from the line inside the last minute of the game.

With a lower field goal percentage (.264) than Saturday’s, efficiency at the free throw line proved to be big as the team was 21-for-23 for the game.

A 20-6 run for the Eagles over the course of 9:53 in the first half allowed them to establish the lead that would ultimately hold for the win.

Guard Janay Morton had eight first-half points while the true freshman also hit a pair of three-pointers.

Watkins also scored eight as well as leading the team alongside Thomas with four steals each all in the first half.

On Dec. 31, the women returned to the Convocation Center and knocked off Lawrence Tech University 95-62, moving its record to 10-1 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

Sweeney led the Eagles with a team-high 21 points.

Fouty finished with 19 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Watkins was the third Eagle in double-digit figures, as she added 18 points in the victory.

Fouty and Thomas tied for team-highs in assists, as each dished out five dimes.

On Jan. 4, EMU opened up conference play with an 88-70 road victory over Kent State University.
Morton led the Eagles with 21 points and three steals in the win. Sweeney followed right behind with 19 points, five assists, and three steals.

Two other Eagles finished with double figures in scoring: Thomas with 15 points and a game-high five assists and Watkins chipping in with 10 points.

As a team, EMU went 33-of-71 (46.5 percent) from the field and shot 83.3 percent from the foul line.

The Eagles return home to play Ball State University on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.

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