The women’s basketball team has been dominant throughout the second half of their season, not dropping a game since Jan. 14. With only a few games in the conference left before semi-finals, here’s a look at what the team has accomplished. At home, the Eagles have yet to lose a matchup beating both DeSales University (76-55) and Delaware Valley College (74-62). These, plus a win at Wilkes University (81-52) brings the Eagles record to 8-1 in the conference and 16-4 overall.
No home win was sweeter than Feb. 7, when the Eagles took on the number one team in the nation, FDU-Florham, in a thrilling matchup that went back and forth for most of the second half. Regulation time ended with the teams drawn at 80 points apiece. The next five minutes would tell a tale of the fall of the Devils from the number one spot in the nation as well as a tale of triumph for the Eastern Eagles. Fifteen points later, Eastern University went in for the kill in the last five seconds with a block by Emily Lavin to secure the win 88-87 and snap the FDU-Florham 53-game win streak. The Eagles and Devils are now tied atop the Freedom Conference standings, both clinching spots in the conference tournament starting on Feb. 25. The Eagles spoiled a perfect record for the Devils, and kicked them down four spots on the d3hoops.com rankings. The Devils still hold third on the USA Today Coaches poll as of Feb. 17. Meanwhile, after the successful upset, d3hoops.com has ranked the Eagles as the number 24 team in the nation, making this the first appearance for Eastern on the top-25 list.
All this excitement means honors for the players on the team. Lavin earned her second Freedom Conference Player of the Week award for the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 2. Meghan Nowak, after earning the honor twice before, was named for a third time as Freedom Conference Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 2-8. Nowak also earned an incredible honor from the US Basketball Writer’s Association by being named the National Player of the Week for NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball for the week ending on Feb. 8. Lavin also earned the honor earlier in the season.
Following the thrilling game, the Eagles have managed to stay on their hot streak beating King’s College on Feb. 11 (70-50). The following Saturday, the women showed no love on Valentine’s Day and beat Manhattanville (84-63). In the the win against the Valiants, senior Kaitlin Dougherty achieved the 1000-point mark, making her the thirteenth player in Eastern women’s basketball history to do so. Following her showing at Manhattanville, Nowak was once again named Freedom Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and second week in a row. The team not only stayed on the top 25 list on d3hoops.com, but climbed the rankings to the 23rd spot.
On Feb. 17, the Eagles hosted their last home game of the season while honoring the four seniors who have led this team to its best record in school history. Nowak, Dougherty, Kaleigh Boreman, and Gina DiDomenico led the team to a perfect season record at home, beating the Misericordia Cougars 86-59. The four seniors combined scored 52 of the points put up by the Eagles. A big congratulations to all four players on their accomplishments throughout their years at Eastern.
The Eagles participated in their last regular season game away at DeSales on Saturday, Feb. 21. DiDomenico paced the Eagles with 17 points in the second half as they finished the season with a 71-63 win against the Bulldogs and a final regular season record of 21-4. While on a roll during the latter part of the game DiDomenico tied the career three-point mark for an EU women’s basketball player. Meanwhile, Nowak finished the season with incredible numbers posting 510 points and 246 rebounds.
Catch the women in action Wednesday, Feb. 25, as they take on the DeSales Bulldogs for the Freedom Conference semi-final. The women have made some incredible strides this season so far, and the playoffs are sure to be a continuation of the success.