WICHITA, Kan. – (Release from Eastern Oregon University Athletics) The No. 12-ranked Mountaineers opened the NAIA Tournament with a first-round win over the Spires of the University of Saint Mary. Eastern jumped ahead early and never looked back taking an 80-57 win. With the win, the Mounties claimed their spot in the second round and will take on the winner of Dakota State (S.D.) and Morningside (Iowa) tomorrow evening in the second round at 6:00 p.m. (CST) in the Garvey Center (Wichita, Kan.).
Eastern gave up the lead for a moment about a minute into the game, but that was the last time Eastern trailed. The Mounties bounced back with a 9-0 run to go up 11-3 with just under seven minutes to go. From there the two teams exchanged shots through the first quarter. After one, EOU led 20-14 thanks to six first-quarter points from Shaelie Burgess.
The Mounties added on in the second quarter starting with a 13-4 run in the first four minutes and 40 seconds. Eastern attacked the hoop and they were rewarded scoring seven of those 13 points at the line. Saint Mary came back to life in the back half of the second quarter to stick with the Mounties just a point behind 11-10 in the last five minutes of the quarter. At the half, EOU led 44-28.
Saint Mary responded in the third quarter outscoring EOU for the only time on the night 18-17. The closest the Spires came was 13 points (53-40) with 4:08 to go in the third quarter, but EOU pulled away instantly when Adyson Harris Shaw knocked down a three on the next possession. EOU went up by as much as 19 with just under three minutes to go before Saint Mary ate into the lead over the last couple minutes to make it 61-46 (EOU) at the end of three.
With the win in their grasp, the Mounties drove the final nail home in the fourth quarter outscoring Saint Mary 19-11 with six different players getting on the board scoring. Eastern took the win 80-57.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Eastern dominated on the glass as they have all year outrebounding the Spires 57-38
- The Mounties held the lead for all 40 minutes of the game
- Both teams tallied 12 turnovers, but the Mounties were more efficient in taking advantage of the Spires’ mistakes with 13 points off Saint Mary turnovers
- Sailor Liefke: 16 PTS, 6-16 FG, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL
- Shaelie Burgess: 15 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK, 1 STL
- Brie Holecek: 12 PTS, 2-3 3PT, 6-6 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL
- Saint Mary
- Tanea Sims: 15 PTS, 5-18 FG, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL
- Paige Pendley: 12 PTS, 4-7 FG, 3 REB, 1 AST