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STORY BY JON VAN VLIET-ISU SPORTS INFORMATION
POCATELLO, Idaho - The Idaho State women’s basketball team was defeated by visiting Eastern Washington 61-55 Saturday afternoon at Reed Gym. The Bengals’ record drops to 6-4 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky Conference play while EWU improves to 5-5 and 2-0 in league action.
The Bengals struggled in shooting throughout the game, hitting just 28.6 percent from the field and 5.6 percent from 3-point range as senior guard Kaela Oakes hit ISU’s lone 3-point shot for the contest.
While ISU had trouble offensively, Eastern Washington shot very well going 43.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Despite the sharp contrast in shooting percentage, Idaho State made a comeback in the second half cutting a 15-point EWU lead down to just six. However, every time ISU got within striking range, EWU hit a key shot to keep the lead intact. The Bengals outscored EWU in the second half 30-25 but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 11-point first-half deficit.
“We worked really hard to contest some shots and they made them anyway,” ISU Head Coach Seton Sobolewski said. “If you combine their hot shooting with the fact that we didn’t play very well offensively, it’s really hard to win that game. I think it’s unbelievable that we made a comeback when we only shot 20 percent [in the second half]. We got on the line a lot and that made the difference but we shot horribly and we still managed to cut into the lead and gave ourselves a chance to regain the lead. I was really proud of our effort in the second half. We were just all over the place and really dug in and defended.”
Idaho State’s defense helped the Bengals as the team converted 17 points off 22 EWU turnovers. ISU posted nine steals while EWU only had three.
ISU also found a way to score from the free throw line, shooting 81.5 percent and completing 22-of-27.
Senior forward Jessa Jeppesen led the team in scoring with 11 points. Junior guard Kara Jenkins followed with 10. Junior guard Lindsey Reed had 8 points and senior forward Ashleigh Vella, Oakes and junior forward Cydney Horton each had seven points.
Idaho State was out-rebounded 61- 55 to Eastern Washington. Vella collected seven rebounds for the Bengals while Horton had six. Vella led the team with three assists.
Idaho State returns to the court Sunday, Dec. 30 against Pac-12 opponent Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., at 2 p.m.