The Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team (14-12, 6-9 MAC) out-shot the University at Buffalo Bulls (10-15, 5-11 MAC) for a 61-57 victory Thursday, Feb. 23, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center.
“This was a huge game for us,” Head Coach Fred Castro said in the postgame press conference interview with EMU Athletics. “I was incredibly proud of our kids' effort to keep Buffalo at 57.”
Center Tayra Eke led the Eagles for the first time with 17 points, six rebounds, and two steals, marking a career-high for the sophomore. Three other Eagles posted double figures in the contest with senior Irekpitan Ozzy-Momodu scoring 14 points and nine rebounds while ZaNiya Nelson added 13 points. Junior Ce’Nara Skanes chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds, marking her 17th game scoring double figures and 54 in her career, the most from any current Eagle.
The Eagles captured 35 rebounds over the Bulls’ 34, led by Ozzy-Momodu’s nine boards.
“The rebounding battle was close, so we took care of the ball and made the plays down the stretch,” Castro said.
EMU went on an 8-0 run after falling behind, grabbing a 17-11 lead with 3:00 in the first quarter. The Bulls tried cutting into the lead but the Eagles took advantage heading into the second quarter leaving the bulls down, 17-14.
Buffalo took a 24-23 advantage, but once again the Eagles scored eight consecutive points to put the bulls down 31-24, a score that would remain until halftime. EMU scored well in the paint, scoring 14 of its 14 points, highlighted by a bucket from freshman Olivia Smith.
After halftime, the Eagles increased their lead to, 38-30, before a 5-0 run with a bucket from Skanes, expanded the lead to, 43-30, in the third quarter with 3:37 on the clock. EMU entered the final period with a 50-39 edge over the Bulls, scoring 14 of its 19 points near the basket.
The lead over Buffalo continued into the fourth quarter with the 61-57 win for the Eagles, scoring 42 of its 61 points in the paint.
Up next, the Eagles host their last game of the 2022-23 season in a women’s-men’s doubleheader against the Golden Flashes of Kent State, Saturday, Feb. 25. The game will also serve as Senior’s Night for the men’s and women’s team honoring Natalia Pineda and Ozzy-Momodu, and Derek Ballard Jr. on the men's team.
For more information about the women's basketball team, tune in to “TheBlockE podcast” weekly for more in-depth analysis, statistics, and more.
The Eastern Echo welcomes thoughtful discussion on all of our stories, but please keep comments civil and on-topic. Read our full guidelines here.