The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team went into the fourth quarter with a lead, but couldn’t hold on in a 71-68 loss to Western Michigan on Feb. 23 at University Arena. The Eagles fall to 12-13 overall.
Eastern Michigan got off to a good start in the first quarter with an explosive scoring output. The Eagles led 21-20 after the first 10 minutes, and they carried that momentum into the second quarter, extending their advantage to a 41-36 lead at halftime. At the break, EMU had two scorers, Corrione Cardwell and Courtnie Lewis, in double figures. Cardwell continuously got to the rim and found ways to score in and around the paint.
Cardwell had 11 points, three assists and three steals in the first half, but Lewis was nearly unstoppable from 3-point range. She made four 3-pointers in the first half on five attempts and connected on both of her free throw attempts. Lewis led both teams at halftime with 16 points. Danielle Minott had five points in the first 20 minutes of play. Western Michigan was led by Leighah-Amori Wool, who had 13 points on 60 percent shooting from the field.
The Western Michigan defense stepped up in the third quarter and started to make a comeback. The Broncos outscored EMU 14-11 in the third quarter to come within one possession heading into the final period. Just over a minute into the fourth quarter, Maddie Watters knocked down a 3-pointer to give Western Michigan a 53-52 lead. Despite Minott answering with a score on the other end, but Western’s Kamrin Reed immediately responded.
The Eagles continued to battle down the stretch, but the Broncos’ offense came alive, especially from 3-point range. In the last six minutes of the game, Western Michigan knocked down four 3-pointers to push its lead to as much as seven points. Meredith Miller and Watters were dominant in the second half, combing for 16 points on 83.3 percent 3-point shooting. Wool also scored eight points in the second half to finish with a team-high 21 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Eastern Michigan cooled off from the field after shooting 60 percent in the first half. They couldn’t stay at that level during the second half, dropping to 45.8 percent. The Eagles also shot an abysmal 14.3 percent from 3-point range in the second half, after connecting on 6/9 in the opening half. Cardwell and Lewis finished the game with 20 points apiece, and a combined eight rebounds and six assists. Minott had 13 points. Western Michigan shot 53.9 percent on 3-pointers in the second half.
The Eagles will stay on the road for their next game as they travel to play Northern Illinois on Feb. 27 in DeKalb, Illinois. Eastern lost by three points the last time these two teams met on Feb. 2.
Coach Fred Castro and his team were not available to comment following the game.
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