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TO THE RACK: Eastern Oregon's Michelle Kinley powers for two points against OIT Friday. Kinley had six points in the first half against OIT's huge front line. (The Observer/PIERRE LaBOSSIERE).
TO THE RACK: Eastern Oregon's Michelle Kinley powers for two points against OIT Friday. Kinley had six points in the first half against OIT's huge front line. (The Observer/PIERRE LaBOSSIERE).

By Pierre LaBossire

Observer Staff Writer

The Eastern basketball women had command and had completely dominated a much bigger Oregon Tech team in the key, but then a lid was put over the Mountaineers' bucket , and the Hustlin' Owls roared back for a 70-59 win Friday.

After Katlin Lafferty drilled a three-pointer with five minutes left in the first half, Eastern had a lead of 22-12, but Oregon Tech responded with a 16-3 run to close out the half with a 28-25 lead.

Oregon Tech (10-7, 5-2 in Cascade Collegiate Conference) controlled the action through most of the second half. Eastern (6-8 overall, 4-3 in CCC) rallied late and hit a couple of big threes in the closing moments to make it close, but the Hustlin' Owls responded with some treys of their own to keep the Mountaineers at bay.

Afterward, coach Anji Weissenfluh said it was a game the women could have won. She said OIT got too many offensive rebounds in the second half — 12 — and that Eastern didn't shoot well.

Eastern shot 31 percent from the floor and just 19 percent from outside the three-point arc.

"We shot pathetic," she said. "We didn't put the ball in the bucket. They outplayed us."

OIT had a considerable size advantage over the Mountaineers, but Eastern actually dominated the paint early, thanks to six points from Michelle Kinley, all underneath the bucket.

Eastern scored 16 points in the paint in the first half, while OIT only scored eight. Heather Epeldi also had eight rebounds in the first half as the Mountaineers held a 22-17 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, OIT's size finally became a factor. Six-foot-two Pam Frei, who only played three minutes in the first half, had nine rebounds and six points in the second half, while 6-foot-0 Jaime Stanford scored 12 points in the second stanza. Stanford ended with 17 for the game.

OIT took a commanding 56-39 lead with just over seven minutes left in the game, but the Mountaineers showed their resiliency, storming back to give themselves a chance late to take control of the game.

Cory Nelson, who led the team with 11 points, scored five points during a 9-0 Eastern run as the Mountaineers cut the lead to 56-48 with 5:35 left.

Lafferty hit her second trey of the night to make it 60-54 with 2:50 left. Oregon Tech's Katya Spiecker responded with a trey of her own to make it 63-54, but Tricia Haddock came right back with a three-pointer to make it 63-57 with just under two minutes left.

At this point, Eastern had all the momentum. But, on Oregon Tech's next possession, the Hustlin' Owls had three offensive rebounds that led to a total of three free throws to open up a 66-57 lead with under a minute to play. Eastern wasn't able to come back from that deficit.

Spiecker ended with 16 points on 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Eastern plays first-place Southern Oregon at 6 p.m. today.

Oregon Tech (70)

Katya Spiecker 5-7 2-2 16, Pam Frei 3-6 0-1 6, Jennie Kooch 1-2 2-2 4, Jaime Stanford 5-6 5-6 17, Kyra Cleveland 1-3 2, Lois Shoemaker 0-1 0-0 0, Meggan Sager 4-12 3-8 13, Angela Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Bree Pollard 0-2 1-2 1, Marcie Mitzner 4-9 2-4 11. Totals: 23-50 15-25 70.

Eastern Oregon (59)

Tricia Haddock 1-7 2-2 5, Lacy Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Cory Nelson 4-14 3-4 11, Jamie Jo Cant 1-12 8-9 10, Heather Epeldi 2-6 2-3 6, Katlin Lafferty 3-4 1-2 9, Christy Smith 3-5 0-1 6, Michelle Kinley 3-7 0-2 6, Brye Quatre 1-2 0-0 2, Sara Cole 1-6 0-0 2, Ashley Jones 0 -0 0-0 0, Candice Davis 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 20-65 16-23 59.

Halftime score — OIT 28, EOU 25. Three-pointers — OIT 9-23 (Spiecker 4-5, Stanford 2-2, Sager 2-9, Mitzner 1-3, Shoemaker 0-1, Frei 0-1, Smith 0-1), EOU 3-16 (Lafferty 2-3, Haddock 1-5, Cant 0-6, Kinley 0-1, Cole 0-1). Fouled out — Cant, Cleveland. Total fouls — OIT 22, EOU 23. Technical fouls — none. Turnovers — OIT 25, EOU 12. Rebounds — OIT 43 (Frei 11), EOU 39 (Epeldi 10). Assists OIT 13 (Spiecker 5, Sager 5), EOU 13 (Smith 5).

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