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USU Eastern teams get swept on weekend homestand

The long arms of Caitlin Nelson have helped alter plenty of shots this season, including one against Snow College on Saturday.
Eastern's Neveij Walters shoots over Snow College's Cheikh Sane. Walters finished with 13 points in the loss against Snow College.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

It's a weekend both the mens and womens teams at USU Eastern would like to forget in a hurry.

Both teams suffered back-to-back losses to the visiting teams from Snow College and Salt Lake Community College.

For the USU Eastern women, the weekend games may have cracked their confidence as they fell 67-58 to SLCC on Friday and 71-48 to Snow College on Saturday.

Womens head coach Dave Paur said the team "had a bad weekend overall" and struggled on defense.

"We played great defense before this weekend but we just had two of the worst defensive performances of the season. Right now we're just in a slump," Paur said.

Both Snow and SLCC deployed defenses to stop NJCAA leading scorer Priscila Santos from dominating offensively. Paur said both teams used box-and-one and triangle and two defenses to prevent Santos from getting the ball and making plays.

After leading 31-28 at the half over SLCC, the Eastern women lost the lead with 12 minutes to go in the second half and we're never able to mount a comeback.

On Saturday, Snow College changed the conditions of the B-DAC into a blizzard as they converted on nine three pointers and pressured the Lady Eagles into 24 turnovers.

"When we win games, we don't turn the ball over very much," Paur said.

Santos had 41 points and 22 rebounds over the two games. Amy Arbon added 23 points and 14 rebounds over the weekend.

Paur said the team is dealing with some injuries as Santos has a bruised knee, which will limit her in practice this week. Caitlin Nelson, who at 6'2" provides the team with size in the middle, is dealing with a hand injury that required a few stitches. Paur said when she is able to play 20 minutes in a game, the team has a great record because of her ability to rebound and alter shots on defense.

"We have a lot of freshman on the team and freshman tend to struggle a lot," Paur said.

The USU Eastern women (13-10, 5-3 SWAC) need to overcome those struggles if they want to stay in the thick of the race in the SWAC.

The USU Eastern men also had a forgettable weekend as they lost a close game to SLCC 90-86 on Friday and were dispatched by Snow 91-80 on Saturday.

SLCC was able to steal a win after taking a lead with three minutes to go, making their free throws down the stretch to finish the game.

Against Snow College, the Eastern men fell behind by 23 after a barrage of three pointers made by the Badgers. Head coach Brian Edelstein said the team didn't come to play against Snow but was proud they showed no quit despite being down by double digits throughout the game.

The sanctions against the team may be having an effect on the team's play, Edelstein said, as the knowledge of not making the playoffs is a hard thing to live with.

"We've lost four straight games that have gone down to the wire and could be a coin flip to see who wins," he said.

Sophomore Demetrus Richardson and freshman Dashaun Wiggins each finished with 35 points over the two games.

With all of the adversity the team has faced this season, including the death of head coach Brad Barton, Edelstein said he wants the players to keep playing hard and never showing any quit.

"The team has done a great job of sticking together and they always leave everything out on the floor," he said.

The Eastern men (14-8, 2-6 SWAC) are currently in fifth place in conference play.

Both the mens and womens teams will head to Idaho for games on Thursday and Saturday at College of Southern Idaho and North Idaho College.

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