EWU’s Ojeda puts emphasis on blocks
Ask Carrie Ojeda how many points or rebounds she had in a game and she’ll likely come up blank.
Ask Ojeda how many blocked shots she had and she’ll recite the exact number.
The Eastern Washington senior center keeps track of her blocked shots because it’s her favorite part of the game. She has tallied 103 for her Eagles career and is three shy of Teresa Willard (1980-81) for sixth place on EWU’s all-time list.
Ojeda has a chance at catching former teammate Nicole Scott (137) for fourth place on EWU’s list. Leader Brenda Souther (1984-87) is light years ahead with 364.
When Ojeda registered a career-high 17 rebounds during a November game against Pacific, the final tally caught her by surprise.
“I don’t notice when I’m getting so many rebounds,” said the 6-foot-1 graduate of Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma. “I just grab them.”
Ojeda said she had a vague notion that her points were piling up when she scored a career-best 20 against Northern Arizona last January, but only because she was making so many layups.
Ojeda started every game last season, averaging 10.2 points per game with a team-leading field-goal percentage of 46.1. Ojeda took a big step forward from her sophomore year, when she started 25 of 30 games and averaged 3.4 ppg.
“My confidence just went through the roof from my sophomore year to my junior year,” Ojeda said. “I did things I didn’t usually do. Honestly, I think it was just a matter of growing up.”
Ojeda is majoring in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. She’s thinking about becoming a firefighter.
She selected Eastern because it’s fairly close to home and came highly recommended by former Eagle Chene Cooper, whom Ojeda knew from Lakes High of Tacoma.
The Eagles won the Big Sky Conference title during Ojeda’s freshman year and are off to a 2-0 start this season, with 2-0 Montana visiting Cheney on Thursday. EWU (6-5) has won four consecutive games.
Ojeda said her big remaining goal, besides winning another Big Sky title, is being named to the all-conference team.
Kennedy makes watch list
Florida Gulf Coast’s Brittany Kennedy (Oregon State/Lewis and Clark High) is among 15 players on the watch list for the Nancy Lieberman Award, an annual honor recognizing the nation’s top point guard.
Kennedy has averaged 10.1 points, 6.0 assists and 5.8 rebounds for the Eagles (8-5).
Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot won the Lieberman award in 2011.
Several area players are off to solid starts with Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges teams.
Freshman guard Hailey Markham-Patti (North Central) is averaging 13.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for Blue Mountain of Pendleton, Ore. Markham-Patti has hit 32 3-pointers.
Another NC freshman at BMCC, forward Kalen Via, has averaged 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
Freshman guard Sierra Higheagle (Clarkston) is averaging 14.7 points and 1.6 assists per game for Columbia Basin of Pasco. Freshman post/forward Cassidy Phillips (Ferris) averages 4.3 rpg for the Hawks.
Freshman forward Lindsay Loe (Columbia-Hunters) has averaged 8.3 ppg and 4.8 rpg for Wenatchee Valley.
At Grays Harbor, freshman guard Destinee Lake (Cheney) is averaging 7.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 2.5 spg.