Holding the 4th annual Utah State University Eastern Invite, the Lady Eagles faced Central Wyoming Community College in the first contest of the weekend. At the end of the first quarter, Central Wyoming held a one point lead in the game. With back and forth scoring, the Eagles finished out the first half ahead of the Rustlers, 25-21.
Poor shooting in the third quarter allowed Central Wyoming to outscore the Lady Eagles 23-12 setting up a 7 point deficit for the team to overcome in the fourth quarter. Although USU Eastern would make a run, continued missed layups and 3-point shots would prevent the comeback needed to win; receiving the first loss of the season by a score of 53-51.
“Poor shooting in all four quarters kept us out of this game,” head coach Chelsey Warburton stated after the game. “This was our lowest scoring game of the season and although the shots wouldn’t fall, the girls refused to give up defensively which was a huge positive to come out of the loss.”
The Eagles shot 15 of 61 [24.6%] from the floor and only 3 of 22 (13.6%) from behind the arc. Freshman forward Maragrett Otuafi stepped up for the Eagles with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Sharne Pupuke-Robati shot 7 of 8 from the free throw line and added 11 points from the field.
Saturday would be a different story for USU Eastern as they found their rhythm against a tough Utah All-Stars team. In a high scoring contest, the Lady Eagles made a statement in the first quarter that would prove to endure, gaining a 21-16 lead on UAS. They would battle back and forth past the half and again increase their lead in the third quarter, they outscored the opposition by an impressive 12 point margin, 33-21. Impressive shooting from the field allowed the Lady Eagles to maintain their lead throughout the contest, defeating the Utah All-Stars 91-76.
Sharne Pupuke-Robati would lead the Eagles with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Margarett Otuafi would have a remarkable game scoring 18 points , shooting 8 of 10 from the field and 2 of 2 from 3-point range. Defensively Kacelyn Toomer kept the ball in the team’s possession with 7 rebounds and 2 steals. The bench was a big part of the victory as Harley Carlisle added 11 points and 6 rebounds with Lamija Coric contributing 10 points. Improved shooting from the field and the free-throw line played a huge factor in the decisive win for the Lady Eagles. One important fact to note is the drop in turnovers from the previous tournament (47) to the USU Eastern Invite (27).
“The girls responded perfectly after the loss on Friday. Everyone contributed to the win and it was a great way to end our games here at home,” said Warburton. The USU Eastern women’s basketball team will head for warmer weather this weekend as they take on three teams in southern Arizona. On Thursday, November 13 they will battle Scottsdale Community College at 5 p.m. Friday November 14 they will meet up with the Phoenix College Bears at 5:30 p.m. to be followed by a Saturday afternoon contest with Chandler Community College at 5 p.m. on November 15.