Eastern Oregon’s Chayla Jones had six points and six rebounds in the Mountaineers’ 83-55 victory over Southern Oregon Friday night. CASEY KELLAS/The Observer
by CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
Eastern Oregon women advance to Cascade Conference tournament championship game
The top-seeded Eastern Oregon University women’s basketball team ran past fifth-seeded Southern Oregon 83-55 Friday night in the semifinals of the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament.
The No. 3-ranked Mountaineers will face College of Idaho tonight at 7 p.m. in the championship game.
“We came out real slow, real hesitant,” EOU head coach Anji Weissenfluh said.
“And then we found another gear. And once we found it, it kept it in that other gear.”
The Raiders looked like the fresher team out of the gates, jumping to an 8-2 lead early on while the Mountaineers looked out of sync offensively.
“We had a good game plan I thought coming into the game,” SOU head coach Lynn Kennedy said. “We executed during the first five minutes. Then we went back to how we play sometimes. We got talent, but we don’t always play as hard as we need to all the time.”
A Taylor Riley 3-pointer at the 10:27 mark gave EOU its first lead and helped the Mountaineers to a 19-2 run. Eastern Oregon finished the first half on a 34-7 run, while holding the Raiders to 26.1 percent (6-23) shooting from the field.
“We just kept at it. I really thought we found our energy once we had success in making some transition points,” Weissenfluh said.
The game was never the same after that, as the Mountaineers ran their lead to 31 points on two separate occasions in the second half. Southern Oregon never got within 20 points during the last 20 minutes.
“The (Mountaineers) kind of got in their flow. And when they get in a flow, they get in a flow,” Kennedy said. “Their senior leadership — you can just tell — they’re at a different level. Like in that game, they got down and nothing fazed them.”
The Mountaineers finished the game shooting 48.4 percent from the field, while SOU finished at 33.3 percent. The Raiders failed to connect from 3-point range, while EOU hit 11 of 22 from deep.
Brook Randall had a game-high 17 points to lead Eastern Oregon. Maloree Moss added 13 points and seven rebounds, both Kelsea Hurliman and Riley chipped in nine points, and Korrie Bourn scored eight.
Alexi Smith finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Allison Gida also scored 12 points.
Haley Newell chipped in seven points.
The Raiders finish the season with a 22-10 record.
The Mountaineers will take a 24-game win streak into the conference championship game tonight against College of Idaho, who defeated Oregon Tech 71-62 Friday night to earn the conference’s other berth in the NAIA national tournament.
“I think it will be a good game,” Kennedy said of tonight’s match-up.
“I just think Eastern’s experience will put them over the top. But I think College of Idaho will do good at nationals, too. Hopefully they both go and do well, and one of them will win it all.”