The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team outlasted Bowling Green 81-74 on Wednesday night. The win propelled the Eagles to 3-3 in conference play and 10-7 overall.
After coming off a poor shooting performance in their last game against Ohio, the Eagles found their groove offensively against Bowling Green.
Freshman Jenna Annecchiarico led the way for the Eagles with a career-high 26 points, shooting 61 percent field goals and 66 percent from 3-point range. Not to be out done by Annecchiarico’s big night, redshirt sophomore Corrione Cardwell scored 15 points, sophomore Courtnie Lewis scored 17 points, and freshman Kiara Johnson notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“My teammates and coaches keep pushing me in practice, telling me to keep being aggressive, so I think that’s what helped me,” Annecchiarico said.
Eastern struggled offensively from the beginning, missing their first six shots. This allowed Bowling Green to jump out to a 10-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first quarter. That changed when Annecchiarico got fouled and went to the free throw line. From there, she scored the first two points for Eastern and that started a 10-point quarter for the Freshman and allowed Eastern to take 14-12 lead into the second quarter.
Annecchiarico continued her excellent shooting performance into the second quarter as she scored eight more points. Eastern also got key scores from Johnson and Cardwell to help extend the lead. Sophomore Autumn Hudson scored the final points of the half with an impressive tip in at the buzzer to give Eastern a 37-32 lead heading into halftime.
Following a successful second quarter, the Eagles jumped on Bowling Green to start the third period, going on a 13-5 run to extend the halftime lead. Annecchiarico was a big part of that, as she was all night, hitting two consecutive 3-pointers and drawing two offensive fouls on the Falcons. Eastern as a whole really began shooting the ball better in the third, scoring an impressive 29 points on 68.8 percent shooting from the field.
After again increasing the lead to double digits at 75-65, the Eagles allowed Bowling Green to get back into it. With a 3-point lead and less than 25 seconds remaining in the game, EMU’s Cardwell drove the lane but had her shot blocked.
Johnson saved her team, though, fighting for the rebound and putting it back up for a game-sealing and-one. That gave EMU a 79-74 lead and a pair of free throws with less than 10 seconds left increased it to an 81-74 victory for the Eagles.
“As a freshman, I was scared,”Johnson said after the win. “Like, shy to show my real player, and now I’m out of my shell, and I can show the real player that I am.”
She was fourth on the team to score with 12 points and led the team with 12 rebounds, as was the only Eagle with more than five boards. Johnson also shot a fantastic 85.7 percent from the field. She wasn’t the only EMU freshman with a huge night though.
Annecchiarico explained: “Taking charges always helps me out. It helps the team out especially. It gets us fired up. They had to call timeout and that just helped us keep going.”
Annecchiarico had a career-high 26 points on 6-9 3-point shooting, to go along with four assists, four rebounds and one steal. EMU (10-7, 3-3) had earned their 10th victory, while Bowling Green (7-10, 0-6) remains winless in conference play.
The Eagles face Central Michigan University on the road Saturday, Jan. 26.
“We have to keep playing together, keep knocking down shots, and just playing hard and not letting up,” Annecchiarico said.