This archived article was written by: Kathryn James
With a tough preseason start, the College of Eastern Utah Lady Eagles finally found the right rhythm and put together 4-2 record.
The Eagles traveled to Northern Wyoming and Salt Lake before getting their first home game. Head Coach Dave Paur said, “We have lots of freshmen. It takes freshmen longer to adjust to competition. It takes them longer to find their tempo.” This year’s team is young and has five-experienced sophomores. Therefore, it is taking a little more time to find the right pace for the team.
Paur said, “You can practice for months, but true competition is what you learn from.” Minor setbacks occurred due to injuries and sickness. “Those injured are coming out of it, and we have now upped the intensity of practices.” Lady Eagles began learning from the previous games and used their experience to help them out the last three weeks.
On the map, Central Wyoming does not seem to be that far way; however, nine hours on a bus was pretty intense. It was a good opportunity for the Eagles to be challenged in the Casper, Wyoming Tournament. CEU Eagles faced #2 in the nation North Idaho. The Cardinals had 11 returning from the previous season.
“Our team was able to compete with them for about only a half. I believe North Idaho’s experience at the national tournament paid off for them,” said Paur. During the first half, CEU trailed by 11, with the half time score showing 35-24 North Idaho. The second half was where North Idaho was able to prove their experience. Eagles ended up losing 77-61.
Key players showed in Bruna Deichmann scoring 14, Priscila Santos 11, and Christin Figgins 8. Deichmann said, “It was good chance to see that we can beat North Idaho. They are beatable, and are not the big scary monster they have been made out to be”.
After a night of rest, the Eagles faced off with Colby, Kan. The match against Colby was a confidence buster for the team. “It felt good to finally win,” said Deichmann, who reached double figures with 28 points. In a second place was Santos with 24 points and Figgins with 13. “Intensity was decent,” sais Paur. CEU reached their first win, 73-51.
On Nov. 20, CEU played Casper Thunderbirds on their home court. Casper is ranked #12. “We were able to play with them for about a half, but we just could not keep up with them physically,” Paur said.
The first half ended with Eagles down by 13. Defense broke down in the transition from zone to man-to-man. For the duration of the game, Casper was able to sink a few three’s before the Eagles could get back into it. Ending the game in a Thunderbird victory of 84-61, over the Eagles. Again Deichmann, Santos, and Figgins reached double digits as the lead scorers. On the way home the team faced snow storms and spent Saturday in Rock Springs, Wyo., due to road closures. “It was good to spend the night with the team without a game the next day. We were able to bond,” Deichmann said.
A week’s preparation allowed the team to add two more wins to their record. One day after Thanksgiving festivities, the team played against Northwest College from Powell, Wyo., and Eastern Arizona in the Salt Lake Tournament.
Figgins said, “Our conditioning in practices has increased, we have become healthy, and we are finding chemistry between players,” in references to the team’s double win. The team came out against Northwest with an 11-point lead. Breaking down a bit before halftime, the Eagles led 26-25. Despite the closeness at halftime, Eagles put it all together and won 74-60. “I think our intensity and condition sustained us through that game,” Paur said. This game had more players in double digits: Santos had 23, Deichmann 13, Daiana Ferreria and Maddie Hind contributed with 11 and 10 points.
Watching Eastern Arizona the night before the Eagles played them, the team was able to see that they were a fast team and would need to be stopped. “Our team was gaining experience and was able to put a stop to Eastern Arizona’s fast breaks” Paur said. CEU left the first half with a lead of 40-27. Not backing down from the challenge, the game ended with an Eagle victory of 85-60. Santos and Deichmann again proved strong scorers with 20 points apiece. Ferreria had a good game with 14. “We played well as a team, and had a lot more intensity than previous games. We were more excited to play” said Figgins.
Pre-season ended with a victorious win verses previous players in an alumnae game on Dec. 4. The Eagles had another solid week to practice and get ready for the game. “Our conditioning has been improving daily throughout practice,” Paur said.
Hind commented, “ It was a fun game to play. The community was able to see us for the first time, and they were able to see how we as a new team play.” Alumna, Chelsea Warburton gave the team a tough start with three, three’s right away. The Eagles have deep bench that stepped up. Jasmine Scott put away 20 points along with Chelsea Morgan putting up 15. Santos and Ferreria were back on the board with 18 and 11. Eagles reached a high score of 91-59.
“The alumnae team was not in shape and that gave us an advantage over them,” said Paur. Scott added, “It felt great to finally have a game at home and in your own gym.” Hind said, “The twins had great chemistry.” Jasmine and Amber Scott went on a run against the alumnae, sinking shots left and right.
In looking towards the future and the beginning of region play, Paur noted, “We play Colorado in their gym this weekend. They are always dangerous in their gym, but this year they have better athletes and should not be underestimated.”
Every coach has his or her fears of vacations. With the semester coming to an end, the team must work hard off the court.
“Not many people know that 10 percent of conditioning is lost after a week if not kept up,” said Paur. Many of the team members are not from the area. Therefore having practices will be tough. It is up to the individual women to remain in condition to come back and play some tough games in the Arizona Tournament over the break, then turn around and play both region games: Salt Lake and Snow College.
“League play is exciting, and we will have the opportunity to play everyone at least three times. Region 18 is the top region in junior college basketball.” Paur said. “Nothing is easy, but it’s worth it.”
The Eagle’s next home game is Jan. 7, 2011 versus Snow College at 5:30 p.m., and Jan. 8, 2011 versus Salt Lake at 3 p.m.