The Eastern Illinois women's basketball team looks to snap a 10-game winning streak against one of the most statistically balanced teams in the Ohio Valley Conference when the Panthers travel to Morehead State on Thursday.
EIU goes into the game with a 1-12 record and are 0-2 to start OVC play after falling to Murray State and Austin Peay last week. Morehead State is 10-5 on the season, but the Eagles are 1-1 in the OVC after suffering a 70-64 setback to Jacksonville State on Saturday. MSU had won eight of its last nine games up to that point and opened OVC play with a win over Tennessee Tech.
Morehead State comes into the game with the second-best offense in the OVC. The Eagles are averaging 76.2 points per game and have the second-best scoring defense with only 62.1 points allowed per game.
"Compared to most teams in our league, they have better balance than about anybody in our league," EIU coach Matt Bollant said. "They are 10-5, and they are a good team and have played well of late. It's just another opportunity to grow and get better."
Five players average double figures for the Eagles, led by Miranda Crockett with 15.1 points per game. Darianne Seward averages a double-double with 13.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Tierra McGowan adds 13.2 points per game, Eriel McKee is averaging 12.5 points per game and Erin Blaine follows with 10.4 points per game.
The Eagles are shooting 41 percent for the season, but they do struggle from behind the arc. Morehead State is last in the OVC from the 3-point range, at only 26.1 percent for the season.
Morehead State leads the OVC in rebounding margin with a plus-12.7 on the season. After McGowan, Blaine averages 6.5 rebounds per game, Crockett averages 6.3 rebounds a game and McKee grabs 5.7 rebounds per game.
The Eagles are also second in the OVC with 5.1 blocks per game. Brooke Todd leads the team with 36 blocks, and McGowan has 24 blocks on the season.
"They can block shots and score inside. They seem to have really good pieces," Bollant said. "The rebounding piece will be key for us as well."
Offensively, the Panthers have struggled to get over the 60-point threshold lately. EIU was held under 60 points against Austin Peay and Northwestern. EIU got over 60 points against Murray State and North Texas, barely. The Panthers scored 61 points in both games.
The Panthers had a disastrous second quarter that cost them against Austin Peay, and having one bad quarter has been a trend for EIU in this game. The Panthers can't afford to have a bad quarter against Morehead State.
"Our margin for error isn't great, so we have to be consistent each quarter," Bollant said. "Having one bad quarter has hurt us. We've been more consistent in practice and in games."
EIU is averaging 59.5 points per game and is shooting only 36 percent this season. Taylor Steele averages 8 points per game and has scored 14.5 points a game in OVC play.