Eastern Washington guard Andie Easley just can’t get as comfortable as she was in Arizona.
Her family lives in Scottsdale, a vibrant desert city void of the torrential snowfall Easley experiences in Cheney.
It’s where she was one of the top recruits in the Phoenix area in 2015, ultimately signing with Hawaii.
Four years, three surgeries and a transfer later, things have changed for the fourth-year junior.
A series of stress fractures in her left tibia made an otherwise enjoyable EWU experience rife with uncertainty.
“It was a true test of my faith,” Easley said. “I gave up a lot to be up here to play basketball, and when it was taken from me I thought, ‘What am I left with?’
“This was a test of how bad I wanted it.”
When Easley checked into EWU’s Big Sky Conference opener at Idaho State earlier this season, she logged the first minutes – 8 – of her collegiate career.
Two nights later, Easley played 29 minutes at Idaho, totaling 11 points and three assists.
A week later, the 5-foot-11 player finished with 14 points and four assists in a win at Montana.
“Those first couple games, it didn’t feel natural,” said Easley, who had a metal rod in her leg. “But I was confident I could play. Each game I would get a little more comfortable.
“I was subconsciously going more to my left, because then I would push off with my right leg.”
She’s come off the bench each game for EWU head coach Wendy Schuller, who has eased Easley back into the Eagles’ rotation since New Year’s Eve.
Schuller and assistant Bryce Currie recruited Easley in high school and after she opted to leave Hawaii midway through her freshman year for family reasons.
Easley was forced to sit out the following season to comply with NCAA transfer rules, but she was happy to be back on the same continent as her mother, who experienced kidney failure and needed a transplant.
Easley was expected to make a substantial impact last season, but she sustained stress fractures during the preseason.
Surgery last summer forced her to miss the Eagles’ most recent nonconference slate.
There was a point, Easley said, when coaches and family members suggested she potentially give up basketball to focus on school.
Easley wasn’t having that.
“No way. I’ve worked too hard to give up now,” said Easley, who plans on being a sixth-year senior at EWU. “This is what I want to do.”
EWU faces Weber State twice in three days
The sixth-place Eagles (10-18, 9-10) conclude the regular season Saturday at Reese Court against last-place Weber State (5-24, 2-17).
Both teams are locked into their current positions and will face each other again Monday in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Boise.
Sixth-seeded EWU beat 11th-seeded Wildcats 64-58 in Ogden, Utah, last month.
Weber State is led by former Pullman standout Emily Drake (12.6 points per game).
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