LA GRANDE, Ore. – The potential game-winner fell short as time expired as the Evergreen Geoducks fell just inches short of upsetting the eighth-ranked Eastern Oregon Mountaineers, 54-53, in a Cascade Conference women’s basketball game on Saturday night at Quinn Coliseum in La Grande, Ore.
In the first half, the Geoducks (4-18, 2-11 CCC) came to play from the very beginning, taking the initial lead following a jumper by Sami Clark (Monroe, Wash./Edmonds CC) just 30 seconds into the game. As both teams struggled to find their shot, Evergreen seemed to control the pace as they held EOU (19-4, 11-2 CCC) to just five points in the final five minutes of the half to take a 26-21 lead into the break.
A three-pointer by Danielle Swain (Rainier, Wash./Black Hills HS) just a minute in put Evergreen up by ten at 31-21 as the Mounties were forced to play from behind, an unusual position for the team that came into the game averaging 15.0 more points per game than their opponents. It wasn’t until the 16:23 mark the EOU put in their first basket as the Geoducks continued to control the pace.
Dominique Johnson gave EOU a chance nearly midway through, hitting back-to-back three pointers to pull Eastern Oregon within four points at 38-34 with 12:52 left to play. The Mounties completed the 10-0 run to tie things up with 11:08 left to play. The two teams battled for the remainder of the half as the teams traded leads.
Swain completed the three-point play with just over a minute to play that put Evergreen up by one. After the Mounties missed a jumper with 36 seconds left to play, EOU was forced to foul. Freshman Sadee Jones (Belfair, Wash./North Mason HS) had a chance to ice the game with 15.2 seconds left but her free throw rimmed out, giving EOU a chance to win the game.
Junior Jessica Edge (Lake Stevens, Wash./Skagit Valley CC) was whistled for a foul with 2.4 seconds left and Johnson hit both free throws to put EOU up by one, 54-53. Edge had a chance to win it with a jumper right inside the arc as time expired but EOU had a defender in her face and the upset opportunity fell short as Eastern Oregon escaped with the 54-53 win.
Evergreen was led by 18 points from Swain, who also finished with nine rebounds. Edge scored 13 points in the loss to go with four assists. As a team, the Geoducks shot .422 from the field, making 19 of 45 attempts on the game.
Eastern Oregon was led by 21 points from Johnson, including the crucial baskets down the stretch. The Mounties had six baskets from behind the arc and took care of business on the charity stripe, making 12 of 18 attempts for 67%.
The Geoducks return home on Friday night when they play host to Warner Pacific, beginning at 5:30 pm. Evergreen will be collecting new or gently used shoes at the door to benefit Hope 4 Hoopers.