Women's Basketball News & Highlights
February 22, 2014
Eagles Secure Home Playoff Game
With Saturday’s game starting an hour later than the other games in the league, the Eagles knew by halftime that losing this game would send them on the road to undefeated FDU-Florham in the opening round of the Freedom Conference playoffs. A win would clinch the second seed in the conference and the right to host the first round.
The Eagles led by just two points, 33-31, at halftime, but with 9:21 to play in the second half, the Eagles pulled away from the Bulldogs with a 14-2 run. The Eagles went on to extend their second-half lead to as much as 17 points and led by double-digits for most of the game’s final eight minutes.
Junior forward Meghan Nowak scored a team-high 26 points while collecting nine rebounds. Nowak was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. Junior guard Kaitlyn Dougherty was also successful from the free-throw line. After missing her first free throw of the game, Dougherty sunk her final 11 attempts of the game. Dougherty finished with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists.
As a team, Eastern shot a season-best 25-for-27 (92.6 percent) from the free-throw line.
Eastern junior guard Gina DiDomenico sunk three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points, six assists and four steals.
Freshman center Emily Lavin continued to be an intimidating force in the paint, blocking seven shots (tied for her season high). Lavin also had nine points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Eastern shot 51 percent from the floor and held DeSales to 32.1 percent shooting. DeSales took 29 more field goal attempts than Eastern, in part because they collected 21 offensive rebounds and forced 32 Eastern turnovers. The Eagles’ 32 turnovers are a season high.
DeSales missed 20 3-pointers (8-for-28) while Eastern went 4-for-8 from 3-point range.
Bulldog guard Alexiah Grant went 5-for-9 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 30 points. Megan Gallagher and Sondrine Glovas added 17 and 12 points, respectively, on a combined 10-for-34 shooting day (29.4 percent).
The Bulldogs kicked off Saturday’s game with a 10-1 lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers and layups from Glovas and Grant.
DiDomenico gave Eastern its first lead of the game, 12-10, with 14:34 to play in the first half with her first 3-point bucket.
Eastern had its biggest lead of the first half with 4:46 when Nowak showed her range with a 3-pointer from the wing to put Eastern up 31-25. DeSales pulled within two points when Mikelyn Mackavage finished a layup with five seconds to go in the half.
DeSales hit a 3-pointer to open the second half to take the lead back, and the scoring continued back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the second period. Then, with 9:21 to go in the game, Lavin put Eastern up 51-47 with a layup after a nice feed from Dougherty. Lavin’s layup sparked the Eagles 14-2 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes. The Eagles scored 10 of those points in 90 seconds.
Eastern finishes the regular season with a 14-11 overall record and a 9-5 conference record while DeSales went 19-6, and 9-5 in the Freedom Conference. By beating DeSales twice this season, the Eagles earned the tie-breaker and will host the Bulldogs again on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the Freedom Conference Semifinal.
The last time the Eagles hosted a conference playoff game was back on Feb. 24, 2004, when they were the No. 4 seed in the eight-team playoffs of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference and hosted Neumann College.
Updated: Monday, 24 February 2014