The Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-6) defeated the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti. The Eagles were led by Areanna Combs’ 17 points, four blocks, three steals and two assists. Combs shot 53.3 percent from the field in 26 minutes of action.
EMU, who came into the game on a four-game losing streak, was able to get back on track versus the Mastodons. The Eagles came out strong in the first quarter, earning a 15-13 advantage, but the defense clamped down in the second quarter to extend the lead. Eastern Michigan allowed just three points in the second period.
The Eagles took a 31-16 lead into halftime as Combs had a team-high nine points at the break. Aaliyah Stanley, a freshman guard, had seven points and seven rebounds in the opening half. The rest of the EMU offense was balanced too, as seven players scored including six points from RayJon Harris.
Jazzy Hughes and Sh’Toya Sanders each had five points at halftime for Purdue Fort Wayne. Only four players scored for the Mastodons as Michelle Nicholls and Shayla Sellers added three points apiece. EMU shot 43.3 percent in the first 20 minutes, while Purdue Fort Wayne struggled, shooting just 23.3 percent.
The Eagles went into the locker rooms just 15 points and only increased the lead from that point on. EMU came out with momentum to start the third quarter as they outscored Purdue Fort Wayne 22-6. The Eagles all but ended the game as they extended the lead to 53-22 going into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, the Mastodons earned back seven points but the game was already out of reach. The final score was 64-40 in favor of Eastern Michigan. The Eagles finished the game shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 47.1 percent on free throws, which will have to improve if they are going to compete for a MAC title.
The Eagles dominated in the paint as they outscored Purdue Fort Wayne 42-6 in points in the paint. EMU also gained more points off turnovers (15-7), second chance points (10-3) and bench points (30-13). Eastern Michigan’s defense was very impressive after the first quarter, allowing just 9.0 points per quarter in the final three periods.
The previously mentioned Combs had a game-high 17 points for the Eagles, while nine players scored. Kiara Johnson totaled 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks, while Courtnie Lewis added four points in 15 minutes. Autumn Hudson totaled six rebounds in the victory for Eastern Michigan.
Hannah Albrecht had a team-high 13 points for the Mastodons, also while grabbing three rebounds and committing two turnovers in 31 minutes. She was 3-for-5 from 3-point range in the loss. Hughes and Sellers finished the game with eight points and six points, respectively. Hannah Hess had a team-high two assists.
Now that Eastern Michigan has snapped their four-game losing streak, they will head to face Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 18 in Chicago. The Eagles are 4-2 against Illinois-Chicago, as they won last year 52-38. EMU will remain on the road for their next game after that as they will go against Detroit Mercy on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Detroit.