YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team earned a 77-70 non-conference win over Florida A&M University today, Nov. 19, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center.

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

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

Eastern Michigan defeated 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’s 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 denials.

How did it happen
After taking a 14-12 lead, Eastern Michigan led an 8-0 run with 1:29 left in the first quarter, culminating in an Ozzy-Momodu bucket, to increase their lead to 22- 12, a score that would stand for the rest of the period. Eastern Michigan did most of its first-quarter damage in the paint, scoring 14 of its 22 near-basket points.

EMU built that first quarter lead to 31-19 before going on a 6-0 run starting 5:33 into the second period, highlighted by a three of Elena Cabello (Malaga, Spain-IES Mediteraneo) to extend their lead to 37-19. The Rattlers took that lead, but the Eagles still had a 40-25 advantage going into halftime. Eastern Michigan has been strong since the start of the period, knocking down four three-pointers to account for 12 of its 18 points.

Eastern Michigan continued to hold on to their halftime lead before going on a 6-0 run, punctuated by a field goal from Ozzy-Momodu, to extend their lead to 54-39 with 1:42 left. to do third. Before the end of the third period, the Rattlers had reduced that lead somewhat, but the Eagles still entered the fourth quarter with a 55-43 lead. Eastern Michigan played well near the basket, scoring 12 of its 15 points in the paint.

Eastern Michigan kept their lead intact before riding an 8-0 run, ended by a Nelson layup, to extend the lead to 75-55 with 3:08 left in the contest. The Rattlers reduced their margin somewhat before the end of the game, but the Eagles prevailed, 77-70.

Game Notes
» Eke recorded his team and the 13th block of the season leading the Mid-American Conference with 5:12 left in the first quarter of today’s contest. Eke has now recorded at least one block in three consecutive games, the best streak by an Eagle since the 2021-22 campaign, when Skanes recorded the same streak in three games between February 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 now holds a 10-point lead in back-to-back contests. The last time EMU led opponents by more than 10 points after the first quarter of consecutive games was in the 2019-20 campaign, when Eastern built 15- and 17-point leads in the first quarter in of consecutive games against Olivet College, November 8 and Youngstown. State University, November 16, respectively.
Eastern Michigan scored 22 points in today’s opening quarter. It’s the highest first-quarter point total for the Eagles since getting the same number in a game against Northern Illinois on Jan. 22, 2022.
The Eagles built a 15-point halftime lead of today’s game. It marks three straight games to start the season in which the Eagles have led by more than 10 points after 20 minutes of play.
Cabello had an unforgettable moment with 4:37 left in the second quarter when she netted Eastern’s fourth three-pointer of the game. The bucket was the first of his collegiate career. She finished the contest with six points on two of three shots.
Skanes finished the contest with 10 points and 12 rebounds to secure his 24th career double-double. Already the program’s all-time leader in the category, this is its first double-double effort since Feb. 26, 2022 against the University of Toledo.
Four Eagles scored over 10 points in today’s contest. At least three Eagles have scored in every game this season. Four have reached the mark in consecutive contests. Last season, Eastern had 10+ points from three or more players in 17 of its 27 contests (63%), and double-digit 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 his first game with two three-pointers since Feb. 23, 2022 in a game against NIU. Pineda also had a career-high nine free throws for the Green and White. His previous high was four, against Miami, on January 15, 2020.
Nelson led the Eagles in points for the second straight game today against the Rattlers. She finished with a career-best 21 points, giving her back-to-back games over 15 points for the first time in her career. Additionally, this is her first double-digit consecutive game streak since Nov. 13 and Nov. 18, 2021, when she lost 12 and 11 points to University of Detroit Mercy and Grace Christian University, respectively.
Eastern has scored more than 70 points in three games this season. Last year, EMU only reached that number 10 times in 27 total games, and only once had a three-game streak like it.
It was a first day for freshmen Sophie Nittinger (Webster Groves, Mo.-Webster Groves) in today’s competition. His one-minute pass in the fourth quarter was the first action of his college career.

Historical notes
Eastern Michigan’s win was the program’s 200th inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center (formerly the Convocation Center between 1998 and 2021).
With its victory over Florida A&M, Eastern Michigan is off to its first 3-0 start since the 2014-13 campaign. The Eagles started this season 6-0. It’s the program’s 12th 3-0 start since its inception prior to the 1976-77 season.
With its win in today’s contest, Eastern Michigan is 2-0 at home to start the 2022-23 campaign. This season marks the seventh in the past 10 years that UEM are 2-0 at home to start a season.
Eastern remains undefeated in three all-time meetings with Florida A&M. The teams first faced each other in the 2002 campaign, with EMU beating the Rattlers, 81-61, on 22 November. The institutions met for the second time in 2017, with Eastern Michigan picking up an 83-61 win on November 10.
The Eagles now have three wins in a row. It’s the first three-game winning streak for the program since the 2020-21 campaign, when it posted four straight wins between Jan. 10-20, beating Western Michigan University, Miami, Akron and Central Michigan University. along the way.
UEM scored more than 70 points in three straight games to open a season for the first time since 2013-14, when they opened that campaign averaging 88.7 points per game in their first three contests, all winners.

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