WBB: Lady Eagles take first steps to move forward after tragic loss

The Eastern Michigan University Eagles fell to the Western Michigan University Broncos Wednesday, 83-56.

Western’s offense proved to be the winning factor in this game, with three players scoring over double digits.

Eastern held the lead briefly in the first half, but Western’s impressive field goal percentage and a few late runs cemented their lead going into halftime, at 33-42.

In the second half, the Eagles gained some offensive intensity, but were never able to fully recover. Successful free throws and offensive runs lead to a 27-point victory for the Broncos.

Freshman, Sasha Dailey, was the leading scorer for the Eagles, with 12 points. This is her second game in a row reaching double digits.

The lady Eagles had a winning week last week, with two impressive conference victories.

Then Sunday morning, the unthinkable happened. Forward, Shannise Heady, died in a head on collision along with fellow student Jordyn Hopkins.

Since the tragedy, campus has been abound with words about Heady's incredible character, her positivity, and her sense of humor.

“Shannise was special. She was the light. She was an unbelievable person. She was a comedian, jokester, she brought a lot of light to our team, she was a winner,” Head Coach, Tory Verdi, said. “Whenever there was a dull moment, she would take it upon herself to change that mood, regardless of it. She was a competitor, she had so much love for life, she had a tremendous amount of zest for life and she’s going to be truly missed.”

When making the tough decision whether or not to head to Kalamazoo, the team remembered Heady’s positivity and competitiveness, and what she would have wanted.

“It was definitely the first step for us, and that’s something as a team that we discussed doing, coming out here to play, and knowing that that’s what Shannise would want us to do,” teammate, Janay Morton, said. “It was difficult, but again everything was. Shannise wouldn’t want us to quit so lets take those steps now instead of trying to push it back, back, back.”

“...That’s who she was, she’d want us to play this game, she would not want us not to go out on the floor and compete,” Verdi said.

While the scoreboard blared a win for the Broncos, it is easy to see why many counted the strength shown by playing this game as a victory for the Eagles. Verdi was one of those people.

“I know we came here for a basketball game tonight, but its more than just basketball,’ he said after the game. “I’m really proud of our team, and the one thing I said to them before leaving the locker room was that we won before the game even started, we won because we were able to take the step forward and get here. I’m really proud of them.”

The Eagles will return to the Convocation Center Saturday, to take on the Buffalo Bulls, following the men’s team in a double-header.

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