The Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-4) women’s basketball team fell to the Michigan Wolverines (5-1) on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Convocation Center. EMU got off to a slow start as they shot just 15.4% percent in the first quarter and weren’t able to recover as they fell 57-38. Natalia Pineda led the Eagles with 16 points and two rebounds.
“We put her in the starting lineup. She’s been practicing at a really high level and she’s a kid that is capable of scoring,” EMU head coach Fred Castro said about Pineda. “Last year, she had her moments where she got hot and she’s playing at a high level in practice. She earned the opportunity and she delivered. I’m really proud of her effort.”
The Eagles started Aaliyah Stanley, Juanita Agosto, Jenna Annecchiarico, Pineda and Autumn Hudson. Annecchiarico got the scoring started for both teams as she gave EMU a 2-0 lead with 7:30 left in the first quarter. Pineda would put the Eagles up 4-2 with a floater, but that would be all of Eastern Michigan’s first quarter points.
“We had some great looks and we just missed them. It’s hard to replicate some of Michigan’s size. We didn’t hit our first jump shot until the end of the second quarter,” Castro said. “Against these sorts of teams, you’re just going to have to make shots but you hold them to eight points in the first quarter and you’re doing something right.”
Michigan ended the quarter on a 6-0 run after Izabel Varejāo entered the game. She had four points and an assist during the run and the Wolverines took an 8-4 lead into the second period. Eastern Michigan’s offense struggled even more in the second quarter as they were shooting 13.8% heading into halftime, trailing 26-9.
Amy Dilk knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wolverines a 17-point lead. Pineda led the Eagles with five points and three rebounds at the half but the offense was unable to keep up with Michigan. EMU was also shooting just 12.5% from the 3-point line in the first half.
Eastern’s offense picked up in the third quarter as they scored 22 points and cut into the Wolverines lead. Agosto hit a corner 3-pointer with 8:33 left in the quarter and Courtnie Lewis scored four straight points, including a 3-pointer of her own. The Wolverines led 44-29 at the end of the third period as Michigan had a 12-3 advantage in assists.
In the fourth quarter, Kiara Johnson’s and-one got the Eagles to within 16 points but they were never able to come within single digits. Varejāo knocked down a turnaround jumper to give Michigan a 57-38 lead with 55 seconds left in the game and that would hold as the final score. Varejāo finished with a team-high 11 points and seven rebounds.
Michigan shot 40.4% from the field and totaled 46 rebounds.
“I’m really proud as a whole. We held an All-American in Naz Hillmon to eight points and 10 rebounds. She’s coming in averaging 18 and 12 or something like that, so I’m really proud of our kids effort,” Castro said. “I thought our kids followed the game plan really well. At the end of the day, what really needed to happen was making a couple more shots.
The Eagles next game is versus Binghamton on Sunday, Dec. 1.