Utah State Eastern women’s basketball participated in the GW Mechanical Tip-Off Classic on Friday and Saturday in Casper, Wyo.
The Eagles began the tournament with a game against the home team Casper College, which they lost 81-64.
A 9-0 run by Casper to begin the game put the Eagles behind early. The Eagles only scored 11 points in the first quarter.
The Eagles would rebound from the slow start and outscored Casper 17-15 in the second quarter.
Eagles’ head coach Chelsey Warburton says that in the beginning it was rough but her team slowly came around and shoot better in the second half.
“I think we had some good shots but we couldn’t get them fall and then we started to calm down,” said Warburton.
The bench for USU Eastern stepped up in the game and helped make the game against Casper more competitive, something that Warburton is grateful to have this season.
“Doesn’t matter who starts or who is on the bench, we have depth that will help us produce points,” said Warburton.
Against Casper, the bench scored 36 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, including a breakout performance by freshman Alyssa Crumley. Crumley had 19 points, eight rebounds and didn’t miss a shot from the field on Friday night.
Freshman Brooklyn Barrus added 13 points, four rebounds and one steal coming off the bench as well for the Eagles.
The following day, the Eagles took on Central Wyoming and defeated the Rustlers 92-50 to pick up their first win of the year.
Using the full-court press against the Rustlers, the Eagles caused 24 turnovers and scored 26 points off turnovers on Saturday. That defensive strategy is something Warburton will rely on this season.
“We will be pressing quite a bit especially with a smaller line-up. They did a great job executing the press for the most part and we rotated different players in get game reps,” said Warburton.
On offense, the Eagles were firing on all cylinders with shooting 50% from the field and 45% from three-point territory. The Eagles made 14 three-point shots on Saturday while Central Wyoming did not make one attempt from behind the arc.
It was another impressive night for Crumley, she shot 8-9 from the field and scored 21 points while grabbing three rebounds and three steals. Crumley’s opening weekend performance caught the eye of Warburton, especially coming from a freshman.
“She showed up for both games especially against Casper, which is great for a freshman,” said Warburton.
According to Crumley, her performance over the weekend was influenced by the help of her teammates.
“I give credit to our sophomores and they gave me the confidence I needed and I did my thing and it worked,” said Crumley.
Sophomore and the leading scorer from last year’s team, Madison Loftus, scored a team-high 27 points. Barrus had another solid performance off the bench and scored 17 points against Central Wyoming.
After the games, Warburton said that the weekend taught her a lot about her team in the early moments of the season and looks forward to improving in practice this week.
“We have a lot of options offensively and defensively there were some improvements over the weekend. We are hard to stop when we all play together,” said Warburton.
The Eagles’ record now sits at 1-1 and will host their first home games of the season this Friday and Saturday at the BDAC.
On Friday, the Eagles will host the Salt Lake All-Stars at 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday, they will take on Laramie County at 3 p.m.
Both games will be streamed live on USU Eastern Athletics’ YouTube channel or on koalitv.com.