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Florida A&M falls to Eastern Michigan 77-70 Saturday

Florida A&M falls to Eastern Michigan 77-70 Saturday
Posted at 9:12 PM, Nov 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-19 21:12:14-05

YPSILANTI, Mich. ( — The Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team secured a 77-70, non-conference victory over Florida A&M University today, Nov. 19, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center.

The win keeps Eastern (3-0, 0-0 MAC) undefeated on the young season, its first three-game stretch of unblemished basketball to begin a season since the 2013-14 campaign.

The Eagles had four players score in double figures, led by ZaNiya Nelson (Oklahoma City, Okla.-Putnam City West), who had 21 points, six rebounds and three steals. Natalia Pineda (Miami, Fla.-John A. Ferguson) added 17 points and Irekpitan Ozzy-Momodu (London, England-City of London Academy-Robert Morris) chipped in as well with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Eastern Michigan out-rebounded Florida A&M 42-30 in Saturday's game, led by Ce'Nara Skanes (Oklahoma City, Okla.-Putnam City West-Florida International)' 12 boards. The Eagles also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second-chance points.

Eastern Michigan did a great job disrupting Florida A&M shots in the contest, coming away with five blocks. Tayra Eke (Madrid, Spain-IES Ortega y Gasset-LIU) led the way individually for the Eagles with two rejections.

How It Happened
After jumping out to a 14-12 advantage, Eastern Michigan went on an 8-0 run with 1:29 left in the first quarter, culminating in a bucket from Ozzy-Momodu, to increase its lead to 22-12, a score that would hold for the rest of the period. Eastern Michigan did most of its first quarter damage in the paint, scoring 14 of its 22 points close to the basket.

EMU built that first quarter lead to 31-19 before going on a 6-0 run starting at the 5:33 mark in the second period, highlighted by a three from Elena Cabello (Malaga, Spain-IES Mediteraneo) to increase its lead to 37-19. The Rattlers cut into that lead, but the Eagles still enjoyed a 40-25 advantage heading into halftime. Eastern Michigan was strong from deep in the period, knocking down four three-point shots to account for 12 of its 18 points.

Eastern Michigan continued to preserve its halftime lead before going on a 6-0 run, punctuated by a basket from Ozzy-Momodu, to expand its lead further to 54-39 with 1:42 to go in the third. Before the conclusion of the third period, the Rattlers had cut into that lead somewhat, but the Eagles still entered the fourth quarter with a 55-43 edge. Eastern Michigan played well near the basket, scoring 12 of its 15 points in the paint.

Eastern Michigan kept its lead intact before going on an 8-0 run, finished off by a layup from Nelson, to grow the lead to 75-55 with 3:08 to go in the contest. The Rattlers narrowed the margin somewhat before the game was over, but the Eagles prevailed, 77-70.

Game Notes
» Eke recorded her team and Mid-American Conference-leading 13th block of the season with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter of today's contest. Eke has now recorded at least one block in three consecutive contests, the best streak by an Eagle since the 2021-22 campaign, when Skanes recorded the same streak in three games between Feb. 12-16 against the University of Akron, Ohio University, and Miami University, respectively.
» Eastern Michigan led today's contest, 22-12, at the end of the first quarter. Eastern Michigan has now held a lead of 10 points in consecutive contests. The last time EMU led opponents by 10+ points after the first quarter in consecutive games was during the 2019-20 campaign, when Eastern built first-quarter leads of 15 and 17 points in consecutive games against Olivet College, Nov. 8, and Youngstown State University, Nov. 16, respectively.
» Eastern Michigan scored 22 points in today's opening quarter. It is the highest opening-quarter point total for the Eagles since it put up the same number in a game against Northern Illinois, Jan. 22, 2022.
» The Eagles built a 15-point lead by halftime of today's game. It marks three consecutive games to begin the season in which the Eagles have led by 10+ points after 20 minutes of play.
» Cabello had a moment to remember with 4:37 remaining in the second quarter when she netted Eastern's fourth three-pointer of the game. The bucket was the first of her collegiate career. She finished the contest with six points on two-of-three shooting.
» Skanes finished the contest with 10 points and 12 rebounds to secure her 24th career double-double. Already the program's all-time leader in the category, it goes as her first double-double effort since Feb. 26, 2022, vs. the University of Toledo.
» Four Eagles scored 10+ points in today's contest. At least three Eagles have hit the mark in each game this season. Four have hit the mark in consecutive contests. Last season, Eastern got 10+ points from three or more players in 17 of its 27 contests (63%), and double-digit points totals from four or more players in just six contests (22%).
» Pineda was outstanding against the Rattlers. She finished the contests with a career-high 17 points on 3-of-5 shooting. Effective from beyond the arc, she knocked down a season-high two from deep. It was her first game with two three-point makes since Feb. 23, 2022 in a game against NIU. Pineda also hit a career-high nine free throws for the Green and White. Her previous best was four, vs. Miami, Jan. 15 2020.
» Nelson led the Eagles in points for the second consecutive contest today against the Rattlers. She finished with a career-best 21 points, giving her consecutive 15+-point games for the first time in her career. Additionally, it is her first stretch of back-to-back double-digit games since Nov. 13 and Nov. 18, 2021, when she dropped 12 and 11 points against the University of Detroit Mercy and Grace Christian University, respectively.
» Eastern has scored 70+ points in all three games this season. Last year, EMU hit that number just 10 times in 27 total games, and had a stretch of three consecutive games of the sort just once.
» It was a debut day for freshman Sophia Nittinger (Webster Groves, Mo.-Webster Groves) in today's contest. Her minute-long stint in the fourth quarter was the first action of her collegiate career.

Historical Notes
» Eastern Michigan's win was the program's 200th inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center (previously the Convocation Center between 1998-2021).
» With its win over Florida A&M, Eastern Michigan is off to its first 3-0 start since the 2014-13 campaign. The Eagles started that season 6-0. It is the program's 12th 3-0 start since its inception prior to the 1976-77 season.
» With its victory in today's contest, Eastern Michigan is 2-0 at home to begin the 2022-23 campaign. This season marks the seventh in the last 10 years that EMU is 2-0 at home to begin a season.
» Eastern remains undefeated in three all-time matchups with Florida A&M. The teams first matched up during the 2002 campaign, with EMU defeating the Rattlers, 81-61, Nov. 22. The institutions met for the second time in 2017, with Eastern Michigan earning 83-61 win, Nov. 10.
» The Eagles have now secured three victories in a row. It is the first three-game win streak for the program since the 2020-21 campaign, when it captured four-straight wins between Jan. 10-20, defeating Western Michigan University, Miami, Akron, and Central Michigan University along the way.
» EMU has scored 70+ points in three consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 2013-14, when it opened that campaign with a 88.7 points per game scoring average over its first three contests, all wins.