WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) -- Senior guard Cassie Shrock scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as Eastern Michigan rallied for a 63-54 victory over host UNCW in a second round game of the 2011 Women's Basketball National Invitation Tournament on Monday at Trask Coliseum.
The Eagles, who trailed by 13 points with just over 14 minutes remaining, outscored the Seahawks, 29-7, the rest of the way to improve to 24-12. UNCW ended its first season under Cynthia Cooper-Dyke with a 24-9 mark.
EMU travels to Syracuse later this week in a Sweet Sixteen pairing at the Carrier Dome. The Orange scooted past the Bonnies, 63-50, in a game played Monday night in upstate New York.
Schrock anchored three EMU players in double figures with her 20 markers and added five rebounds and seven assists in an all-around game. Junior guard Tavelyn James added 13 points and senior guard Sydney Huntley chipped in 12 points.
Senior center Martha White paced UNCW with her fifth double-double of season on 15 points and 15 rebounds. CAA Rookie-of-the-Year Alisha Andrews collected 11 points, six rebounds and seven assists and senior guard Treasure Johnson had 10 points off the bench.
In the first post-season game played in the facility's 34-year history, the two teams struggled offensively in the early going, combing to make just four of their first 17 field goal attempts. White's eight points, 10 rebounds and six blocks eventually helped the Seahawks carve out a 36-28 lead at intermission before the Eagles regrouped in the second half.
EMU trailed, 47-34, with 14:18 remaining in the second half, but turned up the pressure and dialed long distance to take the first meeting between the two teams.
EMU came out firing in the second half and scored the first six points to slice the margin to two points. Two layups by Huntley and another bucket from close range by Paige Redditt closed the gap to 36-34 with just under 19 minutes left.
The Seahawks responded, however, with an 11-0 spurt to regain control briefly. Jessica Freeman's triple in front of the UNCW bench started the rally and Johnson increased the lead to 47-34 with a layup at 14:18.
Schrock kept the Eagles close with a pair of layups and Huntley's triple from the left corner brought EMU within 47-42 at 11:36. A three ball by Schrock with 10:03 left chipped the margin to 50-48 and Thomas scored on a putback to pull the Eagles even at 50-all. A driving layup by Schrock with 7:02 on the clock gave EMU its first lead since midway through the first half, 52-50, and the Eagles poured it on down the stretch.
EMU's defense held UNCW to just two baskets in the final 11:07 and Schrock scored 10 of her points during that stretch as the Eagles broke away. The Seahawks wound up with a season-high 27 turnovers on the night.
After Brittany Blackwell converted two buckets to give UNCW a quick 4-0 edge, the Eagles took advantage of a cold spell and sloppy play by the Seahawks to score 11 of the next 14 points and take control. Back-to-back baskets by Shrock gave the Eagles a 5-4 advantage and De'Ja Willis drained a trey on the right wing to push the lead to 14-7 at 12:26.
EMU still led, 17-13, before the Seahawks, behind White, finally caught up. Kristen Hanzer took a pass from White and scored on a layup to start a 7-0 run and after White connected on the right elbow to bring the Seahawks even at 17-all, Andrews sank a long trifecta on the right side to give UNCW a 20-17 edge at 7:51.
UNCW extended the margin to 25-20 when reserve Johnson connected from deep and then sank a pair of free throws with 6:37 left in the half. The Seahawks enjoyed their largest lead of the half, 32-25, when Hanzer took a nifty pass from Andrews and scored on a layup at 1:47.
The Seahawks scored the last four points of the opening period to carry a 36-28 advantage into the final 20 minutes. After Desyree Thomas connected on her second straight three-pointer to help the Eagles close to 32-28 at 1:20, White made a layup and Andrews dropped in a pair of free throws with two seconds left to give UNCW an eight-point cushion at the break.
article courtesy UNCW Sports Information