EASTERN GOES COLD DOWN THE STRETCH
By Barry Poe
For The Observer
SIOUX CITY, Iowa Dominican University ended a long Eastern Oregon winning streak Thursday, coming away 64-51 winners in the last of 16 first-round games in the NAIA Division II national women's basketball tournament.
The prize for Thursday night's victory a date with two-time defending national champion Hastings of Nebraska.
"We know they're an unbelievable team, but we're excited about playing Hastings," said Dominican Coach Scott Davis. "We don't have a whole lot to lose, so hopefully we'll be able to hang with them."
Dominican, located in San Rafael, Calif., snapped a 19-game Eastern Oregon winning streak, scoring 15 of the game's last 17 points in the final four minutes. The Penguins, playing in their first national tournament, take a 29-8 record into tonight's game against top-ranked Hastings (29-3).
Timea Ivanyl, a 6-foot-4 senior transfer from NCAA Division I California-Berkeley, was a tower of power on Thursday, scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Katie Christensen, a junior forward and hometown San Rafael product, added 11 points, while senior guard Alicia Arevalo was also in double figures with 10 points.
"This was a great win for our program," said second-year coach Davis. "Hopefully, this will put us on the map.
"I thought our guards did an outstanding job of getting a hand in the face of their three-point shooters. And Timea is at her best when she can catch and shoot in the block, and we did a good job of getting her the ball in the right place.
Ivanyl, who shot 6-for-9 from the floor and swatted away three shots, is a native of Szeged, Hungary.
Beginning with a basket off the opening tip, Dominican was in control early, zipping to a 10-0 lead. Eastern didn't score until the 15:28 mark, but by the halfway point of the first half, the Mountaineers were in front 13-12. The Penguins, though, bounced back to take a 24-21 halftime lead.
"When they took the lead and we didn't let down, that's what turned the game around," said Davis. "We did a good job of not being too nervous. Getting that tip to start the game was nice."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jamie Jo Cant, who shared scoring honors for Eastern with 10 points, gave the Mountaineers a 35-32 lead with 14:13 left in the game. Eastern Oregon was still in front 43-40 when Ivanyl made a conventional 3-point play to tie the game.
Dominican went ahead 49-46 on a steal and lay-up by Lauren Presley at the 4:35 mark, but Eastern's Michelle Kinley nailed a 3-pointer, only her fifth of the season, to deadlock the score at 49-49 with 3:38 to play. That's when the Penguins went to work, scoring 15 unanswered points, including seven from the free-throw line.
Tricia Haddock, one of four senior standouts for the Mountaineers, scored 10 points. Cant added 10 points, six rebounds and five steals. Christie Weaver pulled down five boards, hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight off the bench. Kinley scored seven and had five boards and four steals off the bench.
The Mountaineers, however, struggled through a 19-for-69 shooting performance (27.5 percent).
"This is so hard because we have so many great seniors on this team," said Eastern Oregon Coach Anji Weissenfluh. "If we would have played well and lost ... but we didn't.
"It's a tough way for these seniors to go out. They (Dominican) were bigger than us, which we're used to, but we haven't gone up against many teams who are bigger and quicker than us. They did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do," Weissenfluh said.
Eastern Oregon (26-3), which won the Cascade Collegiate Conference regular season championship and the conference tournament championship, hadn't lost since a Dec. 20 setback to Northwest. This was also the Mountaineers' first trip to the national tournament.
"We knew where we were, but we wanted everyone else to know, too," said Weissenfluh. "We know we could have played better, it's just too bad it had to happen here."
Barry Poe is a sportswriter for the Sioux City Journal.
Lauren Presley 5-9 0-0 10, Jeri Lyn Swanson 2-3 0-2 5, Catherine Graville 2-11 2-2 6, Katie Christensen 3-5 4-4 11, Timea Ivanyl 6-9 1-1 13, Alicia Arevalo 1-5 0-0 3, Chelsea Weighall 0-1 0-0 0, Lola Browne 0-0 0-0 0, Tara Long 3-7 3-4 9, Ashley Fromm 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Clinton 1-4 0-0 3, Cindy Sloan 2-4 0-0 4, Corrie Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Camille Cragg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-58 10-13 64.
Eastern Oregon (51)
Tricia Haddock 3-9 2-2 10, Cory Nelson 2-9 2-2 6, Jamie Jo Cant 4-16 0-0 10, Christy Smith 2-8 1-2 5, Candice Davis 1-6 1-2 3, Christie Weaver 3-10 0-0 8, Linzi Strohm 0-0 0-0 0, Michelle Kinley 3-10 0-0 7, Brye Quatre 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Smith 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-69 6-8 51.
Halftime Dominican 24, Eastern Oregon 21. Three-point shots Dominican 4-11 (Arevalo 1-3, Christensen 1-2, Swanson 1-1, Long 0-2, Weighall 0-1, Sloan 0-1), Eastern Oregon 7-21 (Haddock 2-7, Cant 2-6, Weaver 2-4, Kinley 1-1, Nelson 0-3). Fouled out Cant. Rebounds Dominican 49 (Ivanyl 11), Eastern Oregon 37 (Cant 6, Nelson 6, Smith 6). Assists Dominican 13 (Christensen 4), Eastern Oregon 9 (Haddock 4). Turnovers Dominican 21, Eastern Oregon 15. Total fouls Dominican 13, Eastern Oregon 16.