USU Eastern Press Release
PRICE – Utah State Eastern women’s basketball defeated the Casper Thunderbirds 65-62 on Friday inside Bruin Arena in Taylorsville. It was a rough start for the Eagles as they fell behind 8-1 in the first four minutes of the game to the Thunderbirds. Things finally started to get going on offense as a freshman guard Lamija Coric hit a three with five minutes left in the quarter. Coric said after the game she believes the game got off to a slow start because of nerves and not being on their toes defensively.
“I believe it was just something mentally but later we found each other and played together as a team,” said Coric
After the Coric three, the Eagles fought back and cut the Casper lead to 14-13 with a minute left in the quarter. The second quarter was dominated by the Thunderbirds in the beginning as they built a 14-point lead with 3:30 left in the half. USU Eastern struggled from the free throw line in the first half as well, only shooting 42 percent from the line. With 2:30 left, the Eagles finished the half strong led by sophomore Abby Butler, who scored eight points in the final minutes to get the Eagles within six of the the Thunderbirds.
In the third quarter, the Eagles kept the Casper lead to single digits despite five turnovers and shooting woes. Freshman Harley Carlisle led the Eagles in the third quarter with six points.
The Eagles finally tied the game after three minutes into the fourth quarter after Carlisle made free throws. Coric found her groove from behind the three point line in the fourth quarter and helped the Eagles take their first lead of the game with 2:30 left in the game. She finished the fourth quarter making three of four from deep.
“Lamija stepped up for us and knocked down big shots. The four point play she had really boosted the energy for us,” said USU Eastern head coach Chelsey Warburton.
With 11 seconds left, a pair of free throws made by freshman Emmery Wagstaff sealed the come-from-behind win for the Eagles. “When she made those free throws, I was relieved and it felt good to be in the lead,” said Coric.
Coric led all scorers on Friday with 20 points while making six three-pointers. Carlisle put up 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds against Casper with six of those rebounds coming on the offensive side of the ball.
“She was great today. She is a strong player and fights a lot for rebounds which was very important for us,” said Coric. The leading scorer off the bench for the Eagles was Butler, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds.
“Both Alyssa and Abby’s minutes are important to our team’s success. They came off the bench today and were still engaged and a major part of the win today. It was definitely a team win for us,” said Warburton.