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Aaliyah Alexander takes over in fourth quarter to help Eastern Washington beat Montana 61-56

Feb. 3—From staff reports

Aaliyah Alexander scored six points in the final 32 seconds to help the Eastern Washington women's basketball team hold off Montana 61-56 on Saturday at Reese Court in Cheney.

Alexander's turnaround jumper in the lane gave Eastern a 57-54 lead. After Montana's Carmen Gfeller (Colfax High) missed a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, Alexander hit two free throws to give Eastern a cushion.

Alexander, a redshirt sophomore guard, added two more free throws in the final seconds and finished with 17 points. Senior Jamie Loera led the Eagles with 19 points and 11 rebounds to record her second double-double of the season, and junior Jaleesa Lawrence scored 18 points.

Just two other Eastern players scored: Milly Knowles had four points, and Alexis Pettis had three off the bench. Jaydia Martin was held scoreless (0 for 5 from the field), and Jacinta Buckley did not play for the second straight game.

The senior Knowles played in her 132nd game for the Eagles, tying the program record for games played (Becky Fate Clark played as many from 1978 to 1981).

Eastern led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter but saw its lead dwindle to one point twice during the fourth quarter. Each time the Eagles responded with points; the Grizzlies led for fewer than 4 minutes all game.

The victory helped the Eagles (17-5, 7-2 Big Sky) move one-half game ahead of Montana (15-6, 7-3) into second place in the conference standings, one game back from Northern Arizona (16-6, 8-1).

Halfway through conference play, the Eagles are two wins shy of their season total a year ago and are four shy of the program's all-time record for victories in a season.

Eastern hosts Portland State at 6 p.m. Monday at Reese Court.