This archived article was written by: Katie Bigelow
Utah State University Eastern’s lady basketball team has a few returners and a loaded set of freshman. Returning to the team is sophomores: Candice Cornaby, Katie Bigelow, Jasmine Petit, Priscila Santos, and Abbie Kay. New additions really complement the team. A transfer sophomore from Alaska is Caitlin Nelson. With a young team of freshman, the coaches are excited for this year adding Hailee Parry, Sarah Fletcher, Whitney Fieldsted, Amy Arbon, Shelby Carson, Tandy Thackeray, and Brooke Slade.
Head coach Dave Paur said, “I think right now we should have beat a NCAA Division II Mesa team last week. We lost 60-52. If we keep our players from not fouling, we would be pretty good.
The team has 13 players, but played with 11 the other night. The team must stay away from injuries and illness. “We can’t afford to lose anyone with a serious injury,” added Paur.
The team has a tough schedule the next few weeks, playing Central Arizona and Texas who are the top two teams in the nation. “Central will be a hard team, but it will be a good test,” commented Paur.
“I’m just excited to get the season going, we are on the road a lot, it’s hard to get teams to come to Price. We don’t have the money to bring people here, so we have to play away with some hostile teams,” said Paur. During a scrimmage game at Salt Lake Community College, Eastern beat Casper College, Western Wyoming College, but lost to Northwestern Wyoming.
“The tournament in Casper will be tough. Playing Casper on their home floor is always a hard task,” said Paur. The team will spend November traveling to South Utah University, Casper, Wyo. and Salt Lake Community College tournaments.
Offensive coordinator Adjalma Becheli, known as Coach Vando, has high hopes and praises for this year’s team. “I think we have more talent this year than last year. We are young, but we compensate that by hustle, we are more competitive and aggressive,” said Coach “Vando.”
“I expect really good things offensively; Priscila Santos has potential to score. We have some better understanding of the offense and floor,” commented Vando. He added, the new freshmen have great skills and can contribute well.
Vando commented, “We have good passers, Priscila has more help this year with those able to assist her in scoring, getting her open and set up. I expect a lot of points on transition.”
This year’s team is faster, and able to score a lot of points according to the coaching staff.
During the Mesa scrimmage, the team scored a lot in transition play. Because of visa complications, Vando came a month later to USU-Eastern. “We need to work more on our offense, we are getting there, but I was a month late in getting here so we need more time to work. We can expect a lot of things from our offense. I’m really excited,” Vando admitted.
Defensive coordinator Dan Allen has spent the entire year working on his defense with the women. “I think we will be strong, and can keep our opponents from making threes if we get to our spots on defense,” said Coach Allen. Defensive had been a focus from day one for the Lady Eagles.
The Regional 18 NJCAA conference is very tough. “As a team we can compete more than last year. This is my second year as women’s coach. The leagues is open all teams have chance to win. It’s a pretty even conference; it will take a whole game to win. We got to work hard on both ends of the court. We have to play smart and play tough. I think we have a good chance,” commented Vando.
All the coaches have high hopes and expectations for this years’ 2011-2012 Lady Eagles basketball team.