RENO, Nevada – This isn’t how it was supposed to end, this record-breaking season for Delaney Hodgins and Eastern Washington.
“I think that with the help of my teammates, I was able to have some big games, but tonight I didn’t show that,” Hodgins said after her final game with the Eagles.
Her remarkable career came to abrupt end Wednesday night at the Reno Events Center, where Portland State dominated the second half and cruised to an 82-73 win over the Eagles in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament.
Along the way, Hodgins became the leading scorer in school history. Another record fell Wednesday, when Hodgins surpassed her older sister Hayley’s single-season scoring record.
That didn’t merit a mention in the postgame press conference, where coach Wendy Schuller pondered the future without Hodgins and fellow senior Mariah Cunningham.
“Delaney and Mariah have been such a pleasure to coach,” Schuller said. “It’s a shame to know we’re not going to be together again.”
After a slow start, the taller Vikings dominated inside, drew fouls and took advantage of 20 Eastern turnovers to upset the third-seeded Eagles. PSU will face Idaho in the semifinals on Friday.
Eastern couldn’t have asked for a better start, as Uriah Howard drained a pair of 3-pointers to give the Eagles a 14-6 lead and force a PSU timeout.
Hodgins also had a pair of 3-pointers in the first half but was 0 for 9 in the paint as the Vikings challenged every drive and blocked four of her shots.
More ominously, the Eagles (17-14) got into early foul trouble, forcing some changes in their defense.
“Our offense gets going by what we’re doing on the defensive end,” Schuller said. “We were more reactive tonight … that’s not who we are.”
Eastern led for almost the entire half, but Kylie Jimenez stole the ball from Hodgins in the final seconds to give PSU a 37-35 halftime lead.
The Vikings (19-12) carried that momentum into the second half, outscoring Eastern 29-19 in the third quarter.
PSU led by as many as 17 midway through the fourth quarter.
Four Eagles finished in double figures, led by Howard with 22 points. Hodgins had 15, Violet Kapri Morrow added 14 and Brittany Klaman had 13.
The Vikings dominated inside, outscoring Eastern 44-20 in the paint. They also scored 21 points off turnovers.
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