The Eastern Michigan Women’s basketball team defended their spotless at-home record Tuesday night, with an exciting victory over the Cleveland State University Vikings. The score was 71-68.
Eastern (5-2) was lead in scoring by Cha Sweeney, scoring 20 points (8 of which came from free-throws) against the Vikings. What she may lack in size, she made up for in scrappiness - her tough drives in the paint and impressive rebounding stood out.
Cleveland State (3-3) was lead in scoring by forward Imani Gordon, with 19 points. Cori Coleman also contributed an impressive performance, with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
CSU started the game strong with a 6-point lead, which was answered quickly by a 10-point run by the Eagles. The rest of the first half was back and forth, with the Eagles holding the lead by just one point at the half (28-27).
After an unusually quiet first half, Sophomore Janay Morton exploded out of halftime, scoring 9 points in under two minutes. This run assisted in the 13-point lead that the Eagles held in the second half, their highest in the game.
Eastern was able to hold the lead until a tough fight and a 7-2 run by the Vikings brought the score to 59-58, the Vikings taking the lead for the first time in the half with just 6:17 left on the clock.
A dramatic injury by Cleveland State player Ashanti Abshaw stopped play with a minute on the clock and the score tied 68-68. Abshaw did not return to the game.
The last minute was hotly contested, but came down to free throws - with both teams in the double bonus; successful free throws by Sweeney and Morton decided the Victory for the Eagles.
Senior Forward Jamaica Bucknor stood out as a leader against the Vikings, leading the team with 9 rebounds and contributing 11 points.
“I feel like we’re playing an NBA schedule, without the charter flight," Coach Tory Verdi joked.
The Lady Eagles are back to the Convocation Center after a successful trip down to Texas, where they won both showcase games. This is their fourth consecutive victory, leaving them with a record of 6-2 so far this season. Next up comes a trip to Oklahoma to take on Oral Roberts University.