This archived article was written by: Scott Frederick
It was a dismal night for the Lady Eagles a couple weekends ago when they stepped on the floor in the BDAC and ran into a talented and committed-to-win Salt Lake City Community College Bruin’s team.
The Bruins, who are on top of the Scenic West Athletic Conference slapped the Eagles 79-40 for their worst lost of the season. This week the Bruins moved up four places in the national rankings to number 18.
It was hard to watch the game because the Eagles are better than they played this night. It was a completely different game than when the Eagles previously won against a talented College of Southern Idaho team. The win against CSI came with solid hard work and no expectation of the outcome.
The loss against the Bruins came before the game even started. The body language of the CEU women right from the beginning said we can’t win this one. We didn’t play smart and we were out of position on both ends of the court, according to Jenny Fiso. “We couldn’t get our shots to drop, so we moped on defense.”
For Coach Dave Paur, the defeat made him question if his ladies had any fire left in them. Our team played with no intensity that night, Paur said. I wondered if we would get another win this season.
We did a good job stopping their top three players, Paur said, but they are deep and their bench players came in and we had no answer for them.
Coming off the bench, Keshia Catten was on fire. She hit six of nine three-point shots, two-field goals and a free throw for 23 points to lead all scorers.
Although none of the players reached double digits in any category, Mallory Holm was three for three from the field, two for two from the line, for eight points and grabbed two rebounds. She did this with only 15 minutes of playing time.
One has to wonder about the officiating when a team gets called nearly three times more than their opponents which is what happened in this game. CEU was called for 35 fouls plus two-technical fouls called against their bench. SLCC was called for 13 fouls total.
Saturday night against SLCC was more of a game, although CEU lost 75-60.
We stayed with them till the last four minutes, Paur said.
Three ladies scored in double digits, Holm and Elisha Harris each scored 11 and Fiso 10. A bright spot for the team was free-throw shooting. Holm, Fiso, Harris, Bresha Smith and Brandi King were perfect from the line.
The team played better and stayed with the Bruins almost the entire game. The usual spark was back on defense and the Bruins had to work for every point.
The officiating also seemed more consistent with SLCC called 24 times and CEU 23 times.
Friday night, Feb. 16, the Snow College Badgers came to town and the Eagles flew down and snatched a big win 74-71.
Snow is our biggest rival, Fiso said, and I have a lot of friends on their team and I know their coach, Cindy Lawrence, so winning against them is sweeter.
The Eagles came out strong with their old defensive intensity, a balanced-scoring attack and the attitude to go along with it. They expended a tremendous amount of energy in the game and although the final score was close, they had built a large lead with only a few minutes to go and were able to coast the last few minutes to get the win.
We drank a lot of chocolate milk after the game, Fiso said. We have been practicing harder and I was very tired at the end of the game, I asked to come out of the game more often to catch my breath.
After the loses to SLCC, we went back to our full-court press, Paur said. We seem to play better in an up-tempo game with offensive opportunities coming from tough defense. We are also working on being able to shift from a zone to a man defense quickly.
Stacie Little had an outstanding game and came close to a triple double. She was six of eight from the field, three of seven from the line for 15 points. She had six blocks and no one came close to her 17 rebounds.
Also scoring in double digits were Harris with 15, Fiso 12, and King with 11.
For the Badgers, Kim Gamblin was a presence in the middle grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 16 points. Also in double digit scoring were Chelsey Brown with 17 to lead all scorers and Cori Nielson with 12.
Saturday night the Badgers and the Eagles both came out to win. We wanted to win to show our victory on Friday night was not a fluke, Fiso said.
The game went down to the wire. Down three points with about 12 seconds left on the clock, Snow dribbled down the court into their half-court offense, got the ball into the paint and in scoring position but with seven seconds remaining Fiso stole the ball to seal the win for the Eagles 74-71.
Three Eagles got into double-digit scoring with two of their high scorers coming off the bench. King came off the bench and was the leading scorer for CEU with 12 points. She was three for eight from the field, six of eight from the line, grabbed six rebounds and had a block.
Also coming off the bench was Erin Richardson who got a three, a field goal and went five of six from the line for 10 points. She also pulled down three-offensive rebounds and grabbed two steals.
We got points from Harris when we needed them, Paur said. With clutch play from Harris; Fiso, back and healthy; and Little really starting to take over the middle; we are right where we should be.
Little came up big and continued to impress with another double double. She had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. She could very well help a Division-1 team next year, Paur added.
After the losses to SLCC, the wins against Snow put us back to where we should be, Paur said. This is the time of the season we want to start peaking with a push towards a good showing at region he continued.
Tomorrow Feb. 23 and Saturday Feb. 24 the Eagles face North Idaho College in the BDAC at 5:30 p.m. The Cardinals are 11-5 and third in region, just ahead of the Eagles at seven and nine. They are tough Paur says, but if we can keep up the pressure defensively and take 80 shots, we can beat them.
These are the last home games of the season. After this weekend’s games, the Eagles travel to take on CSI for the last two games of the season. CSI Eagles are ranked second in the conference. The region tournament starts March 7.