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Mountaineers at home on road

WHOSE BALL? Eastern Oregon's tricia Haddock (right) tries to steal the ball from Albertson's Carley Williams with Eastern's Heather Epeldi looking on. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
WHOSE BALL? Eastern Oregon's tricia Haddock (right) tries to steal the ball from Albertson's Carley Williams with Eastern's Heather Epeldi looking on. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

CALDWELL, Idaho Its not a stretch to say the Mountaineer womens basketball fans in the stands Wednesday night gave Eastern Oregon the extra boost it needed to beat Albertson.

With the Coyotes charging hard in the final minutes, Eastern found the energy to stall the come back and win the important Cascade Collegiate Conference game, 81-79.

The win solidified Easterns conference lead, at 10-1 a full game ahead of 9-2 Western Baptist and two games ahead of Albertson at 8-3. Eastern also clinched a conference playoff berth with the win.

This is even more of a win than on our home floor, Eastern coach Anji Weissenfluh said.

The 16th-ranked Mountaineers brought a booster bus and invited fans in the Boise area to a pregame reception. Eastern fans outnumbered Albertson fans on one side of the gym, and the team noticed.

It gives you energy when youre tired, Weissenfluh said of the boost from the crowd. If we wouldnt have had the crowd, we would have been stagnant.

Its really hard to beat them here, and our crowd helped out a lot, sophomore guard Rachelle Stockman said. When we made a shot or a great pass, wed hear them.

For Eastern (17-2 overall, 10-1 league), there was plenty to cheer. Stockmans 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, for example, gave Eastern a 78-74 lead. Senior forward Brooke Sellards stole the ball with 29 seconds left, and sophomore point guard Tricia Haddock was fouled a couple of seconds later.

Haddock made two free throws that made the outcome inevitable.

Tricia came alive in the second half. She had all zeroes (on her stats) at halftime, Weissenfluh said. She says were going to watch tape for assists because shes one away from my record.

Haddock had 11 assists, one short of Weissenfluhs 12 in a game 11 years ago. One of those assists was on Stockmans final 3-pointer.

I just saw her open and she was on a roll with her 3-pointers, Haddock said.

Most shots Stockman took were good. She was 7-for-10 from the field and led the Mountaineers with 17 points.

Eastern shot 59 percent from the field, a factor in its taking a 40-33 lead despite 14 first-half turnovers. Albertson came back behind Megan Henrichs, who had 17 second-half points, and on its offensive rebounding. Albertson (15-8, 8-3) had 14 offensive boards in the second half; at one point, the Coyotes had four attempts before making a basket.

With 14:41 to play, Albertson had just their second lead of the game, 47-46. Haddock came back and hit a 3-pointer, and while Albertson cut the gap to one point five times, it never regained the lead.

Eastern got a boost in the second half when senior center Julie Coffin returned to the game after sitting because of foul trouble. Coffin had eight points in just four minutes of the first half, and she got her fourth foul with 12 minutes to play.

Coffin sat for five minutes and returned with Eastern leading 65-63. She scored six of Easterns next eight points and had 16 for the night.

Haddock had 14 points to go with her 11 assists, and Sellards scored 13 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. Danielle Dianda came off the bench to score 10 points. With a 5-for-6 performance, Dianda continues to be Easterns leading shooter at 61 percent.

The Mountaineers return home Saturday to play Warner Pacific, and the team is not overlooking the Knights, who are 4-19 overall and 1-8 in league.

Wednesdays win gives us a little bit of breathing room, Weissenfluh said. Weve got to take care of business one game at a time.

EASTERN OREGON (81)

Haddock 4-6 4-4 14, Cant 3-7 2-2 9, Sellards 4-9 4-6 13, R.Stockman 7-10 0-0 17, Coffin 6-9 4-4 16, LiaBraaten, Kinley, Epeldi 1-4 0-1 2, Guerra, Dianda 5-6 0-0 10. Totals: 30-51 14-17 81.

ALBERTSON (79)

Williams 1-5 2-5 5, Thompson 3-10 2-3 8, Goicoechea 5-16 1-1 14, Henrichs 8-19 9-13 25, Bailey 5-10 2-2 12, Peterson 5-11 0-0 11, Marchiano 1-2 2-2 4, Dalling. Totals: 28-73 18-26 79.

Halftime score Eastern Oregon 40, Albertson 33. Three-pointers Eastern Oregon 7-13 (Haddock 2-4, Cant 1-2, Sellards 1-2, R.Stockman 3-5), Albertson 5-21 (Williams 1-4, Thompson 0-1, Goicoechea 3-11, Henrichs 0-2, Peterson 1-3). Fouled out Thompson. Total fouls Eastern Oregon 21, Albertson 17. Technical fouls None. Turnovers Eastern Oregon 24, Albertson 12. Rebounds Eastern Oregon 38 (Sellards 7), Albertson 35 (Bailey 6). Assists Eastern Oregon 24 (Haddock 11), Albertson 14 (Peterson 4).

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