Despite an offensive struggle for the Eagles, the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team defeated the Wayne State University Warriors, 70-43, Thursday night at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich. The game introduced the NCAA's new 10-minute quarter format rule along with the foul penalty in each quarter.
Eastern Michigan coach Tory Verdi had up and down feelings about the NCAA changes.
“[it’s] really just getting the feel for the game,” Verdi said after the game. “it’s disruptive and stops the flow of the game however, with 20 minutes halves you have a better flow with it. The one thing that I do like about it is the fact that you shoot two free throws after five fouls.”
The Eagles made 24 free throws (73 percent), which was key as they went on a 14-2 run to lead 30-18 at the half.
The Eagles shot poorly from the field despite the point margin shooting only 34 percent (22-64) and 11 percent (2-18) from behind the arc.
"I think it’s first time out and we really haven’t had the chance to practice in the Convo and it’s different from the practice facility, but that’s going to change shortly,” said Verdi. “Shaking the rust off and missing a bunch of shots early on really didn’t give anybody confidence.”
Eastern Michigan guard Cha Sweeney had a game-high 19 points including 10 of her 12 free throws. Forward Phillis Webb showed promising hopes as she scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“[Phillis] just works people,” said Verdi. She’s going to the boards, she’s ultra aggressive she gets defensive boards, and the fastest up the floor.”
Although the Eagles struggled offensively, their hostile pressure defense is what upheld their lead throughout the game as they forced 27 turnovers including 16 steals and held the Warriors to only 27 percent (17-63) from the field and five percent (1-19) from the three point line.
These numbers were impressive defensively, however, Verdi thought there were areas to improve.
“We gotta do better a job communicating,” said Verdi. Within our presses we were vacating certain areas. We weren’t trusting one another and that’s just a feel thing and communication thing.”
The Eagles were out rebounded by the Warriors, 48-45, but the bench for EMU outscored Wayne State 29-16. Eastern Michigan transfer senior Chanise Baldwin led the way for the bench contributing nine points and six rebounds.
“There were some bright spots from the bench,” said Verdi. I thought Baldwin was terrific for us and very active and Easley's minutes were good, her length bothered them.”
For Wayne State, junior forward Christina Green led the way with 12 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Nina Foster scored eight points off the bench.
The Eagles face Hillsdale College on Tuesday night at the Convocation Center. The Chargers finished the 2014-15 season in eighth place in the GLIAC Conference last season.