The Eastern Michigan University women’s team stifled the Northern Illinois University Huskies defensively on its way to victory, 84-60, Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti.
The Eagles started off on a 6-0 run before the Huskies (10-15, 3-11 MAC) scored their first basket. New to the lineup, Sheyna Deans got right to it for EMU opening up the first quarter with eight points. The Eagles would force five turnovers to open up the second quarter leading 25-9.
“We did awesome job right from the beginning scoring from all areas outside and attacking the basket,” EMU coach Tory Verdi said. “I thought Sheyna Deans was phenomenal on both sides of the ball – she giving us another dimension being able to attack the basket taking pressure off of Sweeney."
EMU’s offense stayed hot after going up 32-12 midway through the second quarter before the Huskies would get on the scoreboard. The Eagles went on another run – including an 8-0 run to go up as many as 24 points. The Huskies went into the locker room trailing by 19, 42-23, shooting only 30 percent from the floor.
“I thought we took control in the first half defensively,” Verdi said. “Our pressure bothered them and they turned the ball over 21 times tonight”.
Entering the third quarter, EMU kept the game out of reach forcing the Huskies to miss shots – taking the lead back up to 20 points. Despite the big lead, the Eagles remained energetic fighting for loose balls and attacking the basket – completing three-point plays exiting the third quarter ahead 64-40.
The Huskies entered the fourth quarter shooting under 40 percent and it would not get better. EMU began the last quarter forcing three straight turnovers on the defensive end – while Janay Morton got going offensively. The Eagles would get sloppy midway through the final quarter, forcing Verdi to call a timeout. The Eagles kept the big lead notching their fourth straight win.
The Eagles finished the game with four players in double figures with Sweeney leading the way with 19 points and four steals. Baldwin with 17 points, Morton and Deans each finished with 16.
The Huskies were held to only 36 percent shooting, 21 turnovers and allowed 26 points off of those turnovers. EMU shot 44 percent (32-73) from the field and 47 percent (10-21) from beyond the arc.
The Eagles have been in sync over the last four games forcing nearly 18 turnover a game.
“We’ve grown down the stretch of the season," Verdi said. “It’s been a roller coaster ride, but the last two weeks I feel like we’ve made a commitment and I feel like we’re destined for Cleveland”.
The Eagles look to win their fifth straight game as they go on the road to take on rival Toledo on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EMU won the last matchup over the Rockets 59-41.