HOME, SWEET HOME
By C.J. Gish
Observer Staff Writer
Riding in a bus has been the norm for the Eastern Oregon womens basketball team this season.
On Sunday, the Mountaineers will break its month-long road stretch that has seen them go 6-1.
For seven straight games since opening its season playing at home against the Eastern alumni team, the Mountaineers will find their way back to the friendly confines of Quinn Coliseum at 6 p.m.
It will be nice. I wish wed have some students around, but it will be nice to get our feet wet (at home) before the students come back, Eastern coach Anji Weissenfluh said.
Students wont return to Eastern until Christmas Break ends and the winter term starts Jan. 7.
The students wont be the only ones, though, who have been on break. Easterns players have had a 10-day layoff since winning two games at the Las Vegas Shootout Tournament in mid-December.
Weve had 10 days off and well only have two days to prepare for Warner Pacific, Weissenfluh said.
Eastern has one more road trip on Friday at Portland to play Warner Pacific for its Cascade Conference opener before returning Sunday when it hosts Walla Walla College.
(The 10 days off) could help us or hurt us, Weissenfluh said. Well see how quickly we can get back into game shape. That will be a big factor for us. (Conditioning) has been one of our strengths before we left for the break.
That isnt the only thing, though, that has led Eastern to its best start in 15 years. The Mountaineers have won six straight since losing its season opener to Puget Sound Nov. 16.
During that time, the team has had contributions from several players and has come together during its seven road games to open the season.
We needed some confidence early in the season and weve gotten that, Weissenfluh said. Our girls have worked their tails off to be 6-1.
Weissenfluh points to blocking out for rebounds and team chemistry as being two of the Mountaineers biggest strengths.
Plus, were not relying on one person, she said. Right now, if you take away Brooke (Sellards), we still have Tricia (Haddock), Jamie Jo (Cant) and Julie (Coffin) who can step in.
Sellards was named Cascade Conference Player of the Week in the second week of December for her performance in Las Vegas, where she averaged 22.5 points and 10 rebounds in two games.
Sellards leads the conference in points per game, averaging 18. Haddock is averaging 11.5, Cant 9.0 and Coffin 8.8.
Sundays game will kick off six straight games at home for Eastern. After Walla Walla, the Mountaineers will play five conference games in a row.