Women's hoops sweeps season series with Eagles
UNC junior forward Lauren Oosdyke makes a move in the post around Eastern Washington defenders Thursday at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Oosdyke had 11 points in the win. Eduardo Rodriguez/The Mirror
Hosting Eastern Washington was going to be a big task, with the Eagles coming to Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion Thursday riding a six-game winning streak, but the UNC women's basketball team defeated EWU, 56-49.
The game stayed close, but with less than a minute left, the intensity rose. With the score 51-49 in the University of Northern Colorado's (16-10, 8-5 Big Sky) favor, junior guard Victoria Timm was sent to the foul line, but after an outburst and a thrown chair by Eagles' (16-10, 10-3) head coach Wendy Schuller, UNC senior guard Kaisha Brown took two free shots, making one.
"It was crazy, but I was just calm," said sophomore guard D'shara Strange, who was also sent to the line in the final seconds. "I was calm and confident, and I try to just get my team settled when you're out there with the point."
After the technical shots, Timm went to the line to take hers. She missed the first shot, went for the rebound and was fouled again. Timm went 0-for-3 from the charity stripe.
The Eagles entered the second half ahead, 28-27, and it took more than five minutes before the Bears went ahead after Strange sunk a pair at the line.
Strange got her second double-double this season with 11 rebounds and 18 points for game-highs in both categories.
The game was a defensive battle, with UNC running through the shot clock down to the last second on many occasions.
"I thought (Eastern Washington) did a good job defensively," head coach Jaime White said. "We didn't necessarily want that. We haven't had (the clock) down that far, but I'd much rather them be playing defense for that long than having the ball themselves. I was OK with it. I wish our last-second shots would have been better shots. I mean, I feel like we took some of those from half court. I'd rather get it into the post or drive on those situations."
Brown was second on the team with 14 points, but when it mattered most, Timm stepped up for a big three halfway through the second half with the score tied at 39. The 3-pointer was her first basket of the game.
"I do think there was a lull right there before Victoria hit that big shot," White said. "We really needed that."
The game, which could be a preview of Big Sky postseason play, helped the Bears when looking to how the rest of the season and the beginning of the postseason can play out.
Timm said a few things need to change, but maneuvering through the Eagles' defense can lead UNC to further success against Eastern Washington.
"Just to get the ball inside," Timm said. "I think we had 14 points in the paint. I don't know why we can get points in the paint because with taller posts it's kind of hard for us. Just pounding it inside and kicking it out when it's open."
The Big Sky rankings didn't change, with Montana beating Weber State 62-52 and Montana State beating Northern Arizona 83-78.
"The most important thing is we can't think about anything else," White said. "We have got to focus on ourselves. We obviously have some things we can get better at, and we have to work on those things. Once we're in the tournament, that's all that matters. Now we just go to do the best we can to do better and be ready to go when the tournament starts."
The Bears have more than a week off before their next game at 2:05 p.m. Feb. 25 against Weber State in Ogden, Utah.
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