Womens basketball falls at Eastern Michigan

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Sophmore Guard Carly santoro goes for ball earlier this season.

By Elias Faneuff and By Elias Faneuff

Late controversial no-calls in overtime doomed the Falcons womens basketball team as they fell to the Eastern Michigan Eagles by a score of 81-74.

Sophomore guard Carly Santoro led the way with a double-double recording 18 points and 13 rebounds. Also recording a double-double was senior forward Ashley Tunstall with 15 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, freshman guard Caterrion Thompson was a big contributor off the bench with 16 points.

“I thought we fought hard tonight,” Falcons head coach Jennifer Roos said. “We got off to a pretty good start offensively, but eventually Eastern Michigan got themselves established and got back into the game. This was a very winnable game for us, but we couldn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game.”

The Falcons got off to an 8-2 run in the first five minutes of the game highlighted by a couple of baskets from Santoro and Tunstall. However, Eastern Michigan would respond with a 9-4 run of their own with The Falcons allowing many second chance opportunities in the first quarter. The Falcons would hold on to a 15-11 lead in the first, following a late pair of free throws made by freshman guard Andrea Cecil.

In the second quarter both teams turned up the tempo on offense, as each team would trade baskets until the 3:57 mark as the Falcons would get off to an 8-0 run to extend the lead by a score of 34-25. The run was sparked by superb shooting by Caterrion Thompson and Ashley Tunstall getting easy layups down low. The Falcons would hold on to a 36-29 lead at the half.

In the third, Eastern Michigan’s backcourt play of Sheyna Deans and Phillis Webb ultimately got them back into the game as the Falcons struggled to get shots to go down. Eastern Michigan ultimately took the lead around the 3:14 mark in the third following a pair of free throws by Eastern Michigan’s Micah Robinson as Eastern Michigan led 45-44. Following that was Ashley Tunstall making a big layup off the glass to retake the lead and a free throw by Carly Santoro gave The Falcons a narrow 47-45 lead. Eastern Michigan would hit a buzzer beater three from the left corner to give them a 48-47 lead at the end of the third.

In the fourth, Eastern Michigan would get off to a 6-0 run following baskets by Deans and Webb. The Falcons would respond quickly with a 6-0 run of their own around the six minute mark to get back in the game. The game went back and forth from there as both teams were in the bonus in the final minutes of play. With 24 seconds left in the game, Eastern Michigan’s Micah Robinson would knock down a free throw to give Eastern Michigan a narrow 65-63 lead. Following the Falcons turnover, Carly Santoro was able to knock the ball free from Sheyna Deans and got the steal. Santoro would knock down a clutch pair of free throws with six seconds left in what sent the game into overtime.

In overtime, it was mostly a free throw battle for both teams. It wasn’t until the 2:14 mark, with Eastern Michigan leading 70-68, that Ashley Tunstall was called for a loose ball foul when it looked like Tunstall was smacked in the face by Eastern Michigan’s Jayla Russ. This controversial call was the turning point for Eastern Michigan and they held on to beat the Falcons.

“It’s never easy to win on the road,” Roos said. “But we’ll learn from this loss and I’m confident in this group’s ability to respond and I know we will come Saturday afternoon.”

The Falcons will look to snap a five-game losing streak as they’ll visit the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday, with tipoff beginning at 3 p.m.