WILMINGTON, N.C. (EMUEagles.com) - Despite trailing by 13 points, 47-24, with just 14:26 remaining in the contest, the Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team used a 29-5 run over the next 14:03 to over the post a 63-54 win, Monday, March 21, over the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament here at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, NC.
With the win, the Eagles (24-12) advance to the equivalent of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. Eastern also eclipsed the programs highest win total for a single season, surpassing the 23 wins during the 2004-05 campaign. The Seahawks, who were hosting its first-ever post-season game and who had posted a 12-1 home record before tonight's matchup, exit the season with a 24-9 mark.
After falling behind 47-37 with 14:08 left in the contest, senior leader Cassie Schrock connected on a layup to chip away at the deficit, making the score 47-39 with 12:47 to go. Eastern would continue the run, tying the ballgame at 50-50 at the 9:24 mark after Sydney Huntley nailed back-to-back treys and Schrock also put in a deep ball.
Tavelyn James also caught fire, making two unanswered basket and giving EMU its first lead since holding a slim 17-15 advantage midway through the opening stanza. UNCW's Martha White converted on one of the home team's two field goals during their drought, cutting EMU's lead to two, 54-52.
EMU then scored nine unanswered, highlighted by five Schrock free throws and a Paige Redditt lay-in.
During Eastern's impressive second-half rally, the team shot 13-of-26 from the field (50 percent), while holding UNCW to just 29.2 percent (20-of-54). Conversely, in the first half, EMU wasn't nearly as hot from the floor in the first half, only connecting on 31.4 percent of its shots, while North Carolina-Wilmington was shooting at a 43.3 percent clip.
The Eagles were led in the game offensively by Schrock who scored 20 points. She also dished out seven assists and grabbed five boards. The back court of James and Huntley combined to score 25 points, while Kristin Thomas led the team with seven rebounds and India Hairston grabbed five boards in 13 minutes of action.
The Seahawks were led by White's 15-point, 15-rebound, six-block effort, while Alisha Andrews had 11 points and seven assists, and Treasure Johnson scored 10 points.
The Eagles led by as many as eight points in the first half, taking a 15-7 lead with 11:13 left in the opening stanza after India Hairston split a pair at the free throw line. After that, the host Seahawks would embark on a 13-2 run to erase the deficit and take a 20-17 advantage.
James would tie it with a three-pointer, but the Seahawks kept with it, extending their lead to 36-28 at the break. UNCW out-rebounded the Eagles 26-16 and pulled down 10 offensive boards which help lead to a 16-12 advantage in points in the paint.
James led all first half scorers with nine points while UNCW's Martha White scored eight points and added 10 rebounds.
Eastern Michigan will now travel to Syracuse, New York to take on the Orange, Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m.