Eagles win season opener over Hillsdale

The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team received its first victory of the season behind Sweeney’s 25-point performance over the Hillsdale College Chargers, 94-77, on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at the Convocation Center.

The Eagles would struggle early in the first quarter shooting below 40 percent from the field. In the second quarter, the Eagles would turn it around as they went on a 19-3 run and head coach Tory Verdi credited their defense and offense during that stretch.

“Well our pressure on the defensive end allowed us to get one legged layups,” Verdi said after the game. “During that time, we had good overall ball movement and our pressure really bother them and we that’s who we were pretty good when we were executing on the defensive end.”

The Eagles were out rebounded by the Chargers 49-45 and transfer senior Chanise Baldwin led the way off the bench with seven rebounds along with six points. Verdi was not pleased with the team’s effort on the glass.

“It’s a mental toughness thing,” noted Verdi. “All five of us have to defensive rebound and it’s something we’re working on and we have to put bodies on people, make contact on people, push them back, and then retrieve the basketball.

The Eagles shot the ball well from the field shooting 47 percent (34-74) and knocked down 10 threes shooting 48 percent from the field. On the defensive side of things, the Eagles held the Chargers to only 38 percent shooting (27-71) and a team who loves to only 27 percent (7-26) from behind the arc.

Despite forcing 20 turnovers including 11 steals and six blocked shots, Verdi believes there are defensive holes that need to be filled.

“Our lack of discipline really showed on the defensive end,” said Verdi. “We blew a lot of assignments, they did a good job attacking us and our pressure bothered them a lot, but once we got tired we stopped being discipline which allowed them to stay in the game.”

Eastern Michigan guard Cha Sweeney led all scores with a game high 25 points along with seven assists and five rebounds. Forward Phillis Webb got it going early in the first half knocking down her first five shots as she finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Guard Janay Morton provided 16 points along six boards and three steals.

When asked about the all around scoring in the starting lineup along with how it gives less pressure for Sweeney offensively, coach Verdi expects everyone to be involved.

“We expect Janay and Phillis to add points on the board as well,” said Verdi. “Janay, she’s a big time scorer for us and I’m not sure if Cha even knows that there is pressure in this game she just goes about her business and takes advantage of what the defense gives her.”

For Hillsdale, senior guard led the way for the Chargers with 20 points while junior guard Becca Scherting and freshman Allie Dewire each contributed with 17 points.

Looking Ahead:

The Eagles will face Texas Rio Grande Valley Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. The Vaqueros are coming off back-to-back wins so far this season and their starting forward junior Mary Savoy had a career high 22 rebounds along with 20 points.

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