The women’s basketball team fought back from nine points down to defeat rival Western Michigan, 64-61, to earn their first conference victory of the season and improve their record to 8-6.
EMU got off to a slow start and trailed for much of the first quarter, partly because Autumn Hudson would pick up offensive fouls on the first two possessions of the game, sending her to the bench. Danielle Minott, fresh off a 43-point performance against Buffalo, didn’t make her first shot until five minutes into the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Eagles trailed 20-11 with the team shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 0-4 from 3-point range.
Eastern got it going in the latter part of the second period behind the inside scoring from Kiara Johnson. She was forced into action after Hudson’s foul trouble and proceeded to go 5-5 from the field for 13 points and six rebounds at halftime. After cutting the lead to two points with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, Jenna Annecchiarico came up with a beautiful steal and save along the right sideline, translating into a Minott layup to tie the game.
The Eagles began the second half on a quick 6-0 run behind four straight points by Minott, which forced a Western Michigan timeout. The Broncos remained in the game, keeping it tight the entire way. The Eagles never trailed in the third quarter taking a 49-46 lead into the final period, despite shooting a horrible 9.1 percent from three during the quarter. In the fourth, Western Michigan went on a 6-0 run of their own to take a 57-55 lead with just a few minutes remaining.
Minott refused to let the Eagles go down, hitting a deep three over the outstretched arms of Western’s 2-3 zone to tie the game at 59. Two possessions later, she connected on another triple to take a one-point lead with 46.8 seconds left in the game. The Broncos failed to score on their final two opportunities and a pair of free throws from Annecchiarico iced the game for the Eagles, earning them their 8th victory of the season.
“It’s not just about scoring, it’s about rebounding and defending well and that’s what I really focused more on,” said Minott. “We worked so hard coming off of the Buffalo loss, we needed this. We’ve got to use it as momentum.”
She scored 25 points and added 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.
Minott said she is at her best when her feet are set, and that’s how she was confident enough to take and make the late 3-pointer to give the Eagles the lead.
Johnson compiled a career high 15 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the field and 3-5 from the free-throw line.
“I knew I had to step up and I had to see every rebound and go get it. I couldn’t get scared. I knew that’s what my team needed so I just had to contribute,” said Johnson. “As a team, we know we can win. Now we just have to keep working, keep going at it.”
The Eagles will travel to Akron to take on the Zips Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.