Despite trailing by 13 points early in the second half, the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team used a 25-9 run in the final 14:03 to earn a 63-54 victory over the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Monday.
With the win the Eagles improved to a 24-12 season record and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The Eagles set a new record for the most wins in a single season, surpassing the previous record of 23 which was set in the 2004-05 season.
After hosting their first post-season game, the Seahawks ended their season with a 24-9 record.
EMU had three players score in double-digits, and Cassie Schrock’s game-high 20 points led the way. Schrock also had seven assists and five rebounds. Tavelyn James put up 13 points, while Sydney Huntley-Rodgers added 12 points and five steals. Kristin Thomas led the Eagles in their rebounding efforts, grabbing seven boards.
Martha White turned in a double-double and led the Seahawks with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
UNC-Wilmington opened the game with a quick 4-0 but a three-point play by Schrock got the Eagles going offensively. The Eagles then went on a 15-3 run that featured a triple by De’Ja Wills and put EMU up by eight, 15-7 with 11:13 left in the opening half.
Eagle turnovers and fouls allowed the Seahawks to tie the score at 17 and a triple by Alisha Andrews put the Seahawks up by three. James answered with a triple for EMU that tied the score again, but the Eagles’ offense went dead for the next three minutes.The Seahawks used a triple along with a pair of free-throws to pull ahead by five, 25-20 with 6:35 to go before the break.
Despite two three-pointers by freshman Desyree Thomas, the Eagles could not overcome the deficit before halftime. The Seahawks went to the locker room with a 36-28 lead after holding EMU to just 31.4 percent shooting,connecting on 43.3 percent of their own shots and going six-for-six from the free-throw line. Both teams went 4-for-10 from the perimeter in the first half, however, the Seahawks out-rebounded the Eagles 33-15.
Coming out of the break, Huntley-Rodgers and Paige Redditt combined for six unanswered points that brought the Eagles within two of the Seahawks. Jessica Freeman responded with a three-point field-goal for UNC-Wilmington. Another offensive drought and numerous turnovers by the Eagles allowed the Seahawks to gain a 13-point, 47-34, advantage with 14:27 to play.
A three-point play by Schrock gave the Eagles a spark, and they got off to a 25-9 run that lasted for the remaining 14:03. The Eagles outscored the Seahawks 35-18 in the second half.
A jump shot by Kristin Thomas tied the teams at 50 apiece with 9:24 to play. Two minutes later, the tie was broken by a layup from Schrock and the Eagles continued to dominate while the Seahawks ran out of steam and went dead from the field and charity stripe.
The Eagles led by as many as 11 points before Freeman scored the last points of the game, and EMU walked away with the 63-54 victory.
Despite out-rebounding the Eagles 44-33, the Seahawks were held to just 29.2 percent from the field on 7-for-24 shooting in the second half. For the game, they shot 37 percent from the field. They made just six of their 22 three-point attempts for 27.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Eagles finished 39.3 percent from the field on 24-for-61 shooting and made 31.9 percent, 7-of-18, of their triples.
EMU will suit up next as they take on Syracuse at 7 p.m. Thursday in New York in a WNIT Sweet 16 game.