UAA played about as good a first half as they had all season against Saint Martin’s. Then Julia Eisentrout and the Saints’ defense took over.
Eisentrout scored 29 points and the Saints erased a double-digit UAA lead to take a 68-56 win Jan. 29 at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. The 5-9 senior outscored UAA in the second half with 20 points by herself to the Seawolves’ 19.
“She played hard the whole game but in the second half she just kind of took it over,” Saints head coach Tim Healy said. “We felt like they couldn’t stop her on the dribble. That’s her game. We let her go after it.”
“When we’re playing as a team we’re very good as evidenced in the first half,” UAA head coach Jody Hensen said.
The Seawolves used the strong ball movement to confound the Saints’ defense, which came in ranked second in the GNAC. Every UAA basket in the run came after multiple passes and screens, which left the Saints scrambling.
“My kids just stopped talking to each other,” Healy said. “We left a lot of people wide open.”
Saint Martin’s didn’t come out of the locker room until the second half was just about to begin, as Healy used his halftime speech to get his team back on track defensively.
“It probably wasn’t the most pleasant halftime for the players,” Healy said.
The Saints responded with a 15-0 run over a five-minute stretch early in the second half to turn a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Saint Martin’s forced six UAA turnovers in the run and Eisentrout scored 10 of the Saints’ 15 points to help turn the tide.
Eisentrout hit 5-of-7 in the second half on a variety of jumpers and leaning drives, often getting friendly rolls on the rim. When she wasn’t hitting shots, she was headed to the line, where she hit 11-of-12 in the game.
“They were trying to block my shot, so I tried to get to the line using pump fakes,” Eisentrout said.
The Saints extended their lead to 60-47 with 8:11 left before the Seawolves went on a 7-2 run. Megan Archuleta, who led UAA with 13 points, scored five points in the run and her three with six minutes left cut the lead to eight. But the Seawolves failed to score over the next five minutes and Saint Martin’s answered with a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach.
After watching a great start be erased in the second half two nights after a tough loss to Northwest Nazarene, Hensen questioned her team’s heart.
“When things get tough or a few things don’t go this team’s way, they’ve not battled back,” Hensen said. “That’s disappointing.”
Northwest Nazarene 61, UAA 58
The UAA women’s basketball team came back from a double-digit deficit but Northwest Nazarene squeaked out a 61-58 victory Jan. 27. The Seawolves got great efforts from Stephanie Beason, Tenecia Macon and Christa Wilson but the key shots wouldn’t fall for UAA, who made just 7-of-21 free throws.
Beason scored 18 points, while Macon and Wilson stuffed the stat sheet to turn a 10-point first-half Crusader lead into a three-point UAA lead in the second half.
Macon had 13 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks and Wilson put up 14 points, five assists, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Whitney Van Brocklin (14 points and 13 rebounds) and Jessica Metz (11 points and 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles for Northwest Nazarene, who had four players in double digits.
After trailing by 10 late in the first half, Wilson and Beason led a 10-2 second-half run that gave UAA a 39-36 lead.
The teams traded leads until Nazarene’s Trisha Lind made a steal and lay-up with 2:04 left to put her squad up 54-52. Metz followed with two free throws to give the Crusaders a four-point advantage with 1:47 to go.
After trading scores, Beason nailed a three pointer with 20 seconds left to bring UAA within 59-58. Nazarene’s Faith Sacht hit the first of two free throws and Beason stole the rebound from Van Brocklin with 10 seconds to go and dribbled the length of the court, missing a twisting jumper in the lane. Sacht sealed the win with another free throw and UAA was unable to get off another shot.