The University of Northern Colorado’s women’s basketball team lost their five-game winning streak against the Eastern Washington Eagles 68-62 Thursday night at the Bank of Colorado Arena.
During the first two quarters, the teams were tied 10 times. The Bears led the first half of the game 36-34 with an average percentage of 19. Eventually, the Eagles rose and led the fourth quarter of the game with an average percentage of 25 and 7-12 field goals.
Jaleesa Lawrence led the Eagles with 16 points and Bella Hays with eight rebounds. The Eagles scored 20 points in turnovers and 24 points from the bench. This victory kept the Eagles at the top of the Big Sky Conference with a record of 6-0. The Bears are fourth in the Big Sky Conference with a record of 4-2.
UNC forward Delaynie Byrne added 16 points to her 1,000 career points record. Byrne also led the Bears with seven rebounds. The Eagles kept their defense up and prevented UNC guard Hannah Simental from shooting 3-pointers. Simental’s overall 3-pointer record of the night was 0-1, a season-low for Simental.
“They just chased her everywhere and so we had to help her. We’re trying to scream for her. Helped her get looked,” said Kristen Mattio, UNC head coach.
Seneca Hackley, UNC guard, made a last-minute three-pointer and was also the second top scorer of the Bears.
The Eagles came back and scored more than 10 points in the third quarter. Their game plan challenged the Bears.
“Their defense did change, I think we kind of started flat in the third quarter and that did not help us and we kind of dug ourselves a little bit of a whole,” Byrne said.
Mattio said it was a very physical game, and she saw more physicality in the rebound side of the game.
“We have to match that physicality. You have to be strong with the ball and that’s to us and how the game is played anyway,” Mattio said.
The game was intended to be a challenge for both teams. Mattio said the Bears did not score enough, even though they did have plenty of opportunities
“It was going to be an ugly and scrappy game, it wasn’t going to be a pretty game from both sides of it,” Mattio said.
Although the Bears were defeated, they plan to bring some of their best highlights of the night to the next game against Idaho University.
“Make sure we take out the emotion and keep the voice. Because you can see a little bit, if we miss something easy, we want it but there are still 25 minutes left in the game or whatever it might be. So, keeping that voice, is it a big game? Well, let’s not make it bigger than what it is. This is a conference game; it was only our sixth conference game. We still have a lot of conference games to go,” Mattio said.
The Bears will take on the University of Idaho on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Bank of Colorado Arena.
“They do a great job so looking forward to getting them here on our home court,” Mattio said.