A SHOCKING END

February 22, 2002 11:00 pm
JUST IN TIME (OUT): Alberston's Heidi Goicoechea (floor) and Jeannie Thompson call timeout after Goicoechea and Eastern Oregon's Danielle Dianda fell to the floor while scrambling for a rebound. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
JUST IN TIME (OUT): Alberston's Heidi Goicoechea (floor) and Jeannie Thompson call timeout after Goicoechea and Eastern Oregon's Danielle Dianda fell to the floor while scrambling for a rebound. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Two and a half minutes into the second half Friday night, one could sense the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers were going to lose their womens basketball playoff game.

The Albertson Coyotes were shooting well and Eastern had no offensive flow. Albertsons Heidi Goicoechea hit two 3-pointers and made a jumper and just like that, the Coyotes were up 52-49.

When they came out and hit those shots and we couldnt get in our offense, you could see the wheels come off, Eastern Oregon coach Anji Weissenfluh said.

After a spectacular season that saw the team win a school-record 14 straight and capture its first Cascade Collegiate Conference title, the Mountaineers were unceremoniously dumped into the offseason with a 92-71 defeat in a conference semifinal game.

The tournament champion, not the regular season winner, gets the leagues automatic berth to the NAIA national tournament, and Eastern Oregon (20-5), ranked 16th, is too far down to get one of the four at-large bids.

Albertson will play Monday in Ashland against Southern Oregon, an 86-85 winner over Western Baptist.

After Easterns game, the players and coaches found solace in their accomplishments, but the sting of Albertsons victory wont wear off soon.

Its painful. We had a huge house here and we wanted this badly, Weissenfluh said.

Indeed, Quinn Coliseum was sold out and was treated to a close first half that was typical of how these teams played each other this season. Eastern won both contests by neutralizing the Coyotes twin towers of Kristen Bailey (6-foot-4) and Janelle Marchiano (6-3), and thats what happened in the first half.

Bailey got two fouls in the first minute and rode the bench through halftime. Marchiano had two fouls seven minutes into the game and while she stayed on the court, she was limited defensively.

Eastern continued to take the ball inside and was rewarded with a chorus of referees whistles. The Mountaineers were 21-for-22 from the line in the half, outrebounded the Coyotes 20-13 and outshot them 46 percent to 41 percent.

Still, they had only a 45-42 lead.

Gaining the edge on the boards was important to Albertson coach Reagan Rossi.

Rebounds were a big concern. If youre going to win big games like this youve got to won on the boards, Rossi said.

Cutting down the fouls five players had at least two by halftime was also a goal.

We needed to move our feet a little more, Rossi said.

In the second half, Bailey had 10 points and seven rebounds, not to mention four blocked shots that frustrated the Mountaineers. She only picked up one more foul, but then Eastern wasnt taking the ball her way that much.

We came out and our first three shots were outside shots, Weissenfluh said. Getting our post involved, that was our bread and butter in the first half, and we never did it in the second half.

Post player Julie Coffin was 6-for-6 from the line in the first half and had eight points. Leading scorer Brooke Sellards had 10 by halftime, including an 8-for-8 showing at the line.

Coffin didnt take another shot until seven minutes into the second half, when Eastern trailed 60-51. Her jumper at 10:51 snapped a 12-0 Albertson run, but Coffin wouldnt score again. She finished with 12 points.

Eastern was just 2-for-5 from the line in the second half and shot 32 percent. Albertson outrebounded Eastern 25-17 and shot 54 percent.

If we hit open shots, well be fine, Rossi said. That was a big key for us. Our kids shot with confidence, they didnt hesitate, they pulled the trigger.

Goicoechea scored 21 points. Jeannie Thompson and Megan Henrichs each scored 19, Bailey had 12 and Marchiano scored 10.

Sellards, a conference MVP and All-American candidate, led Eastern with 21 points. Backup post Danielle Dianda had 10 points, but eight of those came in the first half. Point guard Tricia Haddock had 11 points and six assists.

ALBERTSON (92)

Williams, Thompson 7-16 4-6 19, Goicoechea 6-9 6-6 21, Henrichs 7-13 2-2 19, Bailey 5-9 2-2 12, Thacker 0-1 6-6 6, Peterson 1-10 1-2 3, Marchiano 5-8 0-0 10, Dalling 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 32-67 21-24 92.

EASTERN OREGON (71)

Haddock 4-6 0-0 11, Cant 2-9 1-2 5, Sellards 5-15 10-12 21, Stockman 1-5 0-0 2, Coffin 2-11 6-7 10, LiaBraaten, Kinley 1-1 2-2 4, Epeldi 2-3 2-2 6, Guerra 1-2 0-0 2, Dianda 4-6 2-2 10. Totals: 22-58 23-27 71.

Halftime score Eastern Oregon 45, Albertson 42. Three-pointers Albertson 7-13 (Thompson 1-3, Goicoechea 3-4, Henrichs 3-6), Eastern Oregon 4-18 (Haddock 3-4, Cant 0-3, Sellards 1-6, Stockman 0-4, Coffin 0-1). Fouled out Marchiano, Cant, Coffin. Total fouls Albertson 22, Eastern Oregon 21. Technical fouls None. Turnovers Albertson 12, Eastern Oregon 22. Rebounds Albertson 38 (Bailey 8), Eastern Oregon 37 (Coffin 7). Assists Albertson 19 (Thompson 8), Eastern Oregon 13 (Haddock 6).