Photos by Jeff Barrett
USU Eastern Press Release
PRICE, UTAH – Utah State Eastern women’s basketball lost its conference home opener on Saturday night 62-56 to the Salt Lake Community College Bruins.
The Eagles opened the game with a great first half, which saw them maintain the lead throughout the first and second quarter.
With 3:08 left in the first half, the Eagles led by eight points after a made jump shot from sophomore forward Kaitlin Toluono.
Toluono made a big impact on both sides of the ball for the Eagles and almost finished the game with a double-double. Against Salt Lake, Toluono had 10 points and nine rebounds with seven of those rebounds coming on defense.
“Kaitlin does a good job for us because she guards anywhere from threes, fours and fives. On the offensive end, she is a key point like she either has the ball in her hand or making decisions for us, she is always involved on both ends of the floor,” said Utah State Eastern head coach Chelsey Warburton.
Defensively in the first half, the Eagles were able to keep SLCC’s leading scorer Tia Hay to only six points.
With a five-point halftime lead, the Eagles came out in the second half with all the momentum.
The Bruins came back early in the second half and took a 38-37 lead with 3:44 remaining.
After taking the lead, the Bruins went on a 9-1 run to finish the third quarter led by Hay, who finished the quarter with 14 points.
The run by the Bruins continued as they forced 15 turnovers in the fourth quarter to help create a double-digit lead throughout the period.
Utah State Eastern would trim the lead to four with 22 seconds left but the comeback attempt would fall short and the Bruins would take the game.
“I think we did pretty well through the majority of the game, we just had a few minutes where we had mental lapses and let them get on some runs that we couldn’t come back from,” said Toluono.
Warburton said after the game that she was happy with her team’s performance despite coming up short in the box score.
“I am actually extremely happy. One of our two emphasis was rebounds, which we tied with them and they didn’t outrebound us, which is something they usually do to their opponents,” said Warburton.
Coming off the bench with a team-high 10 rebounds was USU Eastern volleyball all-conference performer Sidney Springer. She joined the team after the conclusion of the volleyball season in November.
Springer finished the game with eight points, two steals and one block. Warburton said after the game having Springer on her team has helped them at both ends of the floor.
“She has been a great addition for us and is a strong, tough player who gets the job done on the defensive end and she still battles to get put back points and get a couple points from the free throw line,” said Warburton.
Utah State Eastern will have two more cracks at defeating the Bruins this season. The Bruins will return to Price on Jan. 27 and the Eagles will go up to Salt Lake on Feb. 17.
With the loss on Saturday, the Eagles now have a record of 13-5 overall and a 0-1 conference record.
This upcoming Thursday night, they will host Colorado Northwest and tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside the Bunnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center.