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Sophomore star leaves mark on USU Eastern as an athlete and student

Priscila Santos points to the heaven after making a free throw against North Idaho College on March 3

Sun Advocate sports reporter

In her short time at USU Eastern, Priscila Santos has certainly done enough to be remembered in the annals of Eastern's athletic history.

The Brazilian born athlete came to Price after a chance encounter with Eastern head basketball coach Dave Paur during a trip to Brazil two years ago.

"Price is very different from San Paulo," Santos said with a smile on her face. "But I've always felt welcome here with my teammates and everyone at the school."

Since then, Santos has broken school scoring records and helped lead the women's team for the last two years.

Paur said Santos was able to rack up incredible scoring performances, including a school record 50 points against Stone Child College during a game in December, while being double and triple teamed by opposing teams. She also racked up scoring performances of 46, 43, 42 and 40 points.

"She has had an amazing career," Paur said. "We may never see another player as good as her ever come to Price again. She is just a tremendous athlete."

The trend of signing foreign players to play basketball at USU Eastern may continue on after the career Santos has had. Paur said he is already looking into signing up to three more Brazilian players for next season.

While Paur talks highly of Santos' play on the court, Santos is very aware of the impact he has had on her life since coming to Price.

"Paur is like my dad," she said. "He helps get the best out of me on the court."

Santos picked up her shooting touch by taking 500 shots per day back home in Brazil while growing up.

Santos credits her teammates unselfish play with helping her attain success on the court.

"We didn't do anything differently throughout the season," Santos said of her high scoring games this season. "My teammates and I played well together and we worked hard to win games."

Just last week, Santos was named as the Region 18 Player of the Year. She scored a total of 872 points, with an NJCAA leading average of 29.1 points per game. The USU Eastern Lady Eagles finished the season with an 18-14 record which ended after advancing to the SWAC tournament semifinals.

In addition to her success on the court, Santos is also attaining success in the classroom. The sophomore is a 4.0 student and is slated to be the college's valedictorian at graduation in April.

While she has attained success on the junior college level, the next step for Santos, 24, is still unknown. The NCAA clearinghouse will issue a ruling in April on whether she is still eligible to participate in NCAA basketball on a Division I or II level. If Santos is not eligible with the NCAA, then schools within the NAIA would become a possibility for Santos.

Regardless of the outcome, Paur said Santos' story will be one for USU Eastern to remember for many years to come.

"Priscila is an amazing student and basketball player," he said. "Overall, it's just an amazing story to follow."

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