It was a bit of a crossover episode in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Saturday, Feb. 10, as the University of South Alabama women's basketball team visited the George Gervin GameAbove Center for a Mid-American Conference - Sun Belt Conference Challenge matchup with the Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team.
It marked the second part of the MAC-SBC Challenge as 12 MAC women's basketball programs hosted 12 SBC teams, while the 12 MAC men's basketball squads traveled to 12 SBC teams.
Junior center Tayra Eke (Madrid, Spain) would lead the Eagles offensively, finishing with 13 points while adding four rebounds and two assists.
Including Eke, EMU saw five Eagles notch double-digits in points as sophomore guard Olivia Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind.) added 12 points, senior center Kennedi Myles (Cincinnati, Ohio) and junior guard Olivia Westphal each notched 11 points, and sophomore guard Dara Capaldi (East Detroit, Mich.) chipped in 10 points.
The Eagles would also attack the glass as they outrebounded the Jaguars, 30-18, as junior forward Treasure Thompson (Joliet, Ill.) grabbed 11 rebounds while Myles finished with 10 rebounds. Myles currently ranks second in the MAC with 8.7 rebounds per game, while it also marked her third-straight game with a double-double.
EMU found its bread and butter inside the paint as they would outscore the Jaguars on points in the paint, 38-22.
After starting the game down 7-6, the Eagles would go on a 14-0 run to end the first quarter with a 20-7 advantage. The second quarter was a game of runs as South Alabama would fight back with a 6-0 run, but the Eagles answered the door with a 12-0 run that ultimately lead to a 36-22 lead at halftime.
The third quarter would consist of back-to-back blows for both squads as the Jaguars would cut the deficit within seven points, 45-38, but the Eagles produced yet another run, 11-0, that contributed to a promising 56-40 lead entering the fourth quarter.
South Alabama would make it a nervous final quarter for the Eagles, but it wasn't enough as EMU took the win over the Jaguars, 81-69.
EMU improves to a 6-16 overall record (2-9 MAC) while South Alabama drops to 8-17 on the season (1-11 Sun Belt).
The Eagles will now return to conference play as they will host Northern Illinois at home on Saturday, Feb. 17, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center at 1 p.m. That matchup is the first part of a doubleheader where the men's basketball team will faceoff against Bowling Green State University shortly after at 3:30 p.m.