Observer staff

Stormee Van Belle posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the No. 8 Eastern Oregon women’s basketball team knocked off NCAA Division III opponent Linfield on the road Saturday, 59-55.

Maya Ah You-Dias and Maren Herrud also scored 15 points apiece for Eastern, which never trailed after allowing Linfield to score the first basket of the game, but was never able to completely put the Wildcats away.

The Mountaineers took a lead of 19-9 on a Herrud 3-pointer late in the first quarter, but Linfield scored 10 in a row to open the second quarter and tie the score. Eastern extended the lead back to seven on a 3 by Reece Bauer, went into the break up 26-23, and eventually led as much as 49-38 Ah You-Dias’ jumper with 5:56 left. Linfield cut the gap to two late, but Eastern went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line in the final 1:04 to seal the win.

The Mountaineers (9-2 overall) host Northwest Christian in their Cascade Collegiate Conference home opener Friday.

EOU splits duals

It was a mixed bag for the No. 18 Eastern Oregon wrestling team Saturday night at Quinn Coliseum.

The Mountaineers rattled off five wins in a row to take a dual from Warner Pacific, 28-20, but had their hands full later against Clackamas Community College, the top-ranked NJCAA squad, and fell, 49-0.

Blake McNall got the ball rolling for the Mountaineers against the Knights with a 16-8 major decision over Lucas Higginbotham at 133 pounds. A.J. Rockwell kept up the momentum with a second-round pin in his 141-pound match against Zach Silas.

Jacob Posey turned in perhaps the match of the night. Posey trailed Baylen Cooper, 10-4, entering the third set of their 149-pound match, but quickly took control of the match before sealing the victory with a pin.

Marco Retano notched an 11-5 decision over Timmy Rivera at 157, and Jacob Dupuis capped the Mountaineer run by scoring a 7-3 decision over Robert Frasier at 165.

“Our conditioning definitely showed during this match and was the deciding factor in most of the matches,” head coach Dustyn Azure said of the victory over Warner Pacific. “We need to keep this confidence in our conditioning and start pushing the pace early and getting to our attacks.”

Rockwell was the only Mountaineer to hang close with his opponent against Clackamas, settling for a 4-2 loss by decision to Ralph Tovar at 141. The Cougars won three matches by fall, one by technical fall and two my major decision.

“We tip our hat to them for the way they came in and set the tone,” Azure said.

EOU returns to the mat Thursday when it hosts MSU-Northern.