Some nights you are the hammer and others you are the nail. The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team found out as much in just the span of 3 days this past week.
Opening their season against cross-state powerhouse, Michigan State, the Eagles found themselves on the nail side of that equation. MSU controlled the game in all but the first period and managed to kick off a huge 13-0 run leading into the half. EMU was eventually handed a 35-point loss: 85-50.
Fast forward three days later and the Eagles were once again taking the hardwood, this time against Division III Olivet College in the friendly confines of the Convocation Center of Ypsilanti, MI.
We made the trip to the east side of the state to cover two local freshman, Hannah Brown (White Cloud ’19) and Zara Webber (Kent City ’19) kicking off their college careers together for the Comets.
The game tipped off to the screams of 2,500 area school children as part of EMU’s Education Day promotion, which gave local kids a day of college basketball, t-shirt canons, spirited cheering and Jumbotron dance-offs. The gym was electric with youthful exubrance well before tipoff and continued for much of the afternoon. The noise factor was often more reminiscent of a post-season matchup in the NCAA tournament, than an early Friday afternoon contest in November, but made for an incredible atmosphere for all in attendance.
Eastern Michigan quickly looked prepared to dominate the game through its size, where they maintained a clear advantage from wings to paint, as the teams tipped off. EMU Junior center Autumn Hudson dominated the glass early with several offensive rebound-put backs, which set the tone for the Eagles and gave them a 4-0 lead.
Olivet was prepared to make things a battle early, however, and OC freshman guard, Hannah Brown, knocked down a pair of back-to-back three point buckets that dropped straight to the bottom of the net. The second bucket gave Olivet its first and only lead of the contest at 6-4. That early showing would not last however and the Eagles closed the first quarter over the Comets with a score of 23-8.
The Comets would get it as close as 12 with 9-minutes to go in the second period, but EMU created additional space between the squads on the scoreboard by shrinking the court through their size and speed by bringing added pressure on a 3/4 court press, which helped them close the half with a 26 point lead.
The combination of size and strength in the paint and on the wings proved to be too much again after the break. The Eagles got things going right away as the relentless EMU defensive pressure began to wear down the Comets and the ladies from Olivet would only manage to score 6 points to the Eagles’ 27 in the third period.
The fourth quarter would be much of the same for both squads. The Comets mounted a fourth quarter effort that got them into double digits for the period, but were simply unable to get momentum going on either side of the court, as had been the case all afternoon. EMU’s continuous flood of size and strength off the bench kept the Eagles fresh and ready to put Tuesday behind them.
The waves of substitutions gave the Eagles a well-rounded offensive and defensive attack that led all eleven players to score during the contest and five to do so in double digits.
Some night’s you’re the hammer and others you are the nail. It definitely felt better this Friday for the Eagles to play the role of the former. Both teams will be matching up against foes from Ohio with the Eagles facing off on the road against Youngstown State and the Comets hoping to regroup in their first non-exhibition competition and home opener against Defiance College.
EMU – Autumn Hudson (12) Courtnie Lewis (9)
OC – Fayth Talbert (5) DeeDee Post (4)
EMU – Courtnie Lewis (15) Kiara Johnson (13)
OC – Hannah Brown (9) Amari Brown (6)
EMU – Jenna Annecchiarico (6) Corrione Cardwell (6)
OC – Tammy Lee (4) Amari Brown (3)