Eastern’s Nelson puts zeal into game

Eastern Washington University photo

Eastern guard Lexie Nelson, a sophomore transfer from Montana, leads the Eagles in scoring at 14 points per game.

December 4, 2012 3:37 p.m. - Updated: 5:12 p.m.

The Lexie Rule has been installed at Eastern Washington.

First-year Eagles guard Lexie Nelson practices her shooting so often that EWU coach Wendy Schuller requires a teammate to accompany her to each personal workout. The decree was christened the Lexie Rule.

“I know it’s driven her crazy and it’s driven her teammates a little crazy,” said Schuller, who figured the extra shooting practice could help any Eagles player.

“It’s not always the same person, but I can usually get someone to do it for me,” Nelson said.

The repetition must work. Nelson, a sophomore transfer from Montana, leads Eastern in scoring at 14 points per game. Nelson has shot 29 of 35 (83 percent) from the free-throw line.

The Eagles witnessed Nelson’s dedication last season, when she sat out because of NCAA transfer rules but continued to sharpen her game.

“She’s probably as tough and competitive a player as I’ve ever coached and I’ve been coaching 20 years,” Schuller said. … “She doesn’t know how to do anything half-speed, whether its academics or basketball.”

Schuller recruited Nelson out of Butte High School, where she became the school’s all-time leading scorer. Nelson, a Grizzlies fan as a young kid, selected Montana because it “seemed right at the time.”

Nelson scored 22 points in two games against the Eagles in Big Sky Conference games during the 2010-11 season.

“I can still see her hitting a couple of shots from the top of the key against us,” Schuller said.

After Montana lost to UCLA at the NCAA tournament that season, Nelson started thinking seriously about transferring.

“The Griz like to play a lot of zone (defense) and here, coach Schuller likes to play man and get after it,” Nelson said.

Schuller grew more impressed with Nelson after a tough loss at Idaho last week. The Vandals forced Nelson into a late turnover and scored at the buzzer for a 68-66 win. Schuller said Nelson didn’t look for excuses on a play that may have been a foul.

“I’m one that thinks excuses are a bunch of garbage,” Nelson said. “You have to find a way to get things done. Referees don’t lose games for you.”

Galland comes back: Devyn Galland has returned from a devastating injury and is coming off the bench to score 8 ppg for Oregon.

Galland was named State 4A tournament Most Valuable Player as a junior when Lewis and Clark defeated Federal Way in the 2011 title game. Two games into her senior season at LC, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and had reconstructive surgery on Jan. 5.

The freshman guard has hit 20 of 23 free throws for the Ducks.

The Ducks also feature Moses Lake’s Jordan Loera (6.7 ppg), a sophomore starting guard.

Notes: Whitworth (6-1) has hit 62 3-pointers this season while its rivals have made 14. … Washington State senior Carly Noyes (Moses Lake) is the Pac-12’s active leader in career blocked shots with 135. Her Cougars have two weeks off but will return with a bang: Dec. 15 against Associated Press 15th-ranked Ohio State, Dec. 18 against No. 7 Louisville and Dec. 21 against Syracuse, which is receiving votes in the poll. … Jenni White, a sophomore guard from East Valley, is averaging 4.3 ppg for Western Washington (6-0). White has hit 7 of 13 3-pointers. Freshman Aleisha Hathaway (Shadle) is averaging 1.7 ppg for the Vikings.


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