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Eastern Michigan 77, Michigan 64

December 11, 2011

Shame on me.  In my eighteen years of following Eastern Michigan basketball, I had never been to a women’s game.  I have followed the women’s team from afar, mostly in box scores and recaps, and I would certainly wish them well.  I remember watching them (on ESPN) put up a serious fight against Boston College in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.  But never in person.  Until today.  In the words of The Terminator, I’ll be back.

Today’s game against Michigan was a rematch of a tightly contested NIT game last year.  From the opening tip, there was a level of intensity on the court which made the game exceedingly enjoyable to watch.  You could tell these two teams knew each other well, but there was also a sense of respect.

I did get another feeling as the game went on, that not only did Eastern have the best player on the court, Senior guard Tavelyn James, but they also have the better team.  Behind some serious three-point sniping from James, the Eagles burst out to a fourteen point lead early in the game—and while Michigan refused to quit, the Eagles took the best punches they could throw and kept the Wolverines at wing’s length.  The upshot was a 77-64 victory for the deserving Eagles.

Along with James, who poured in 38 points (none bigger than a late three to end all hope of a Michigan comeback), Sophomore forward Olivia Fouty scored 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and played smart, stingy defense to keep the Eagles on top.  Fouty has all the qualities of a leader, not the least of which is leading by example with smart defensive play and overall toughness.  She had putback after putback on the offensive glass, dominating the interior during the crucial final ten minutes.

Eastern improved to 6-3 with today’s win, and if they can play like they did today, I have no doubt they will be serious contenders for the MAC title.  With players like Fouty, Paige Reddit, and guards Desyree Thomas and Natachia Watkins, the talent is there for another impressive season.

But not enough can be said about Tavelyn James.  Watching her rain in threes brought to mind one of my favorite three point shooters in EMU lore, Brian Tolbert.  And like Tolbert, James has a complete offensive arsenal.  I can say unequivocally that she is my favorite basketball player with the last name of “James.”

As for me, I’ll be back at the Convo to support these Eagles, and I highly recommend any fan of EMU athletics to do the same.  (On a side note, I like how they are called the Eagles, and not the Lady Eagles, or the Eaglettes, or something truly horrid like the She-gles.)  If they can keep the intensity and effort at the level they played at today, another banner like the one they hung today might be in order.  But this time, hopefully, it will say NCAA Tournament.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2011 12:11 am

    I was seriously contemplating going to this game and I kind of wish I had. I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd was going to be there and I didn’t feel like dealing with a crowd. I may go to a couple women’s games in the future though.

  2. emujeremy permalink
    December 12, 2011 9:34 am

    Ken,

    I haven’t seen any attendence numbers but it seemed about as large a crowd as a moderately attended men’s game. Lots of UM fans, though.

    • December 14, 2011 3:04 pm

      Official attendance was about 890, almost exactly the same as the attendance for the WNIT game against Michigan last season.

  3. December 12, 2011 9:58 am

    I wasn’t concerned as much with the crowd in the stands as the crowd around the basket as I would have been there to take pictures. Going to the State game was cool but not as fun as some of the games where it is just myself and the Echo photographer.

  4. Bobby Wicks permalink
    December 13, 2011 8:11 am

    Glad we won but……..I couldn’t care less about women’s basketball.

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