Photo by Jeff Barrett
The USU Eastern Lady Eagles opened the 2021-22 basketball season with back-to-back non-conference losses Friday and Saturday at Snow College in Ephraim.
Opening the new campaign on Friday, the Lady Eagles suffered a 76-60 loss to Seward County Community College and closed out the weekend trip with a 61-49 setback to Arizona Western College on Saturday. The two-game set is the first of three straight road trips to open the season.
Plagued by a slow start in Friday’s loss to Seward County, USU Eastern played from behind throughout the contest. Faced with a 22-11 hole at the end of the first quarter, the deficit grew to 46-29 entering the break.
The Lady Eagles settled down and played better defense in the final 20 minutes, holding the Saints to just 30 points. Even with the improvement on both sides of the ball, the deficit was too much to overcome in the eventual loss.
Sophomore guard Kinlee Toomer poured in 15 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead the Lady Eagles. Fellow sophomore Ella Bradley shot an efficient 5-8 from the field as she too scored 15 points, while also grabbing six boards. Freshman center Mardee Fillmore gave USU Eastern a boost off of the bench as she totaled 14 points and six boards in 18 minutes of play.
Friday’s loss comes despite the Lady Eagles shooting a dynamic 48-percent from the field, while also connecting on 5-13 shots from the three-point line. The problems offensively came in ball control as the team accumulated 31 turnovers.
USU Eastern responded the following day with a quick start against Arizona Western as they captured a slim 31-29 advantage at the end of the first half. The offensive success floated away in the final two quarters as the Lady Eagles were held to just 18 points in the loss.
Toomer once again led the team in scoring as she notched nine points and gathered eight rebounds in a near double-double performance. Freshman Maclani Michael scored eight points, while both Kaija Glasker and Brooklyn Palmer finished with six each.
The Lady Eagles will have a quick turnaround as they will travel to Arizona for three games in three days beginning Wednesday. Up first will be a meeting with Mesa Community College, followed by a contest with Pima Community College on Thursday. The trip will come to a close on Friday against Phoenix College.
The non-conference schedule will continue through the next two weeks before the league and home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 24 against Salt Lake Community College.