The Eastern Michigan Eagles may have lost in the opening round of the 2014 MAC Women's Basketball Tournament, but their season isn't over just yet. The Eagles (17-13, 7-12 MAC) found out Monday night that they've received a bid in the 2014 Women's Basketball Invitational Tournament, a 16-team postseason tournament. EMU will face Evansville on Thursday, March 20 in Ypsilanti, Mich. A time has yet to be announced.
The Eagles had an up and down season this year struggling mightily once conference play rolled around. Still, the young team wound up with 17 wins on the season just a season removed from a miserable 8-22 campaign. The reason? MAC Freshman of the Year Cha Sweeney. Sweeney averaged 17.2 points (4th best in the conference), and her 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game were in the top 10 in each statistic. The freshman point guard also showed a flair for draining a deep shot, averaging a shade under two 3-pointers a game. Sweeney was exceptionally fantastic down the stretch, scoring 20 or more points in eight of the team's last 13 games.
Another freshman, guard Janay Morton, was also a factor. Morton was second on the team with 12.6 points per contest, and added another three boards per game. the freshmen were helped out by senior leader Olivia Fouty who held down the paint for the Eagles averaging nearly a double-double this season (10.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg).
The Eagles are a talented, but young team. They possess the ability to burst out on big runs, but are also prone to make mental mistakes due to the youth. The Eagles should still be viewed as dangerous. Their mix of athleticism and energy are the perfect concoctions for a long run in a tournament like this.