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USU Eastern Basketball teams look to improve play

USU Eastern Women's Head Coach Dave Paur, center, talks with his players during a timeout last week against Idaho Elite. USU Eastern lost two games last weekend to Idaho Elite, a team comprised of former Division I players from schools such as BYU, Utah, UVU and others.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

Men's team looking for bench players to step up while Women's team is hoping injured players will return to full strength soon

With the new seasons underway for both the USU Eastern Men's and Women's Basketball teams, both teams will be looking to improve their play as both will be competing in tournaments this weekend.

For the USU Eastern women, a two-game series with Idaho Elite last weekend showed the team could play with a team comprised of former Division I talent. However in both games, the Lady Eagles unraveled in the second half of each game through turnovers and the inability to stop long scoreless streaks on offense.

USU Eastern Head Coach Dave Paur said the team had the opportunity to win each game after playing close with Idaho Elite in the first half of both games.

"We'll get better from here," said Paur noting that the team can't expect to win many games when they shoot 29 percent from the field.

One problem the Lady Eagles have already faced this season is with many players having to play out of position due to injuries. Paur said. The team is hopeful that 6-foot-2-inch center Isabela Costa will be able to return from an injury to help bolster the team's low-post presence.

One area the team is looking to improve is with playing smarter on offense. Paur said he would like to see fewer turnovers which would mean more shot opportunities on offense and the ability for the team to use their pressing defense after a made shot.

"The turnovers are a concern," Paur said. "We've got to play smarter and make fewer mistakes on offense."

The Lady Eagles will travel to Salt Lake Community College for games today through Saturday.

For the USU Eastern Men, new head coach Adjalma Becheli is hoping the first game of the season was a wake-up call for his team to improve quickly.

The Golden Eagles dropped their first of two games in Yuma, Ariz., to Arizona Western College 93-61. The Golden Eagles shot just 47 percent from the foul line and connected on only 23 percent of their three-point shots.

The Golden Eagles were also outrebounded by Arizona Western by a margin of 44-23.

"We played terrible and we couldn't execute on offense or defense," Becheli said.

He credits the team with coming back the next day and posting a 73-60 win over Tohono O'odham. The Golden Eagles outrebounded their opponents 41-29 and connected on 11-of-26 three-pointers (42.3 percent).

The Golden Eagles will travel down to Thatcher, Ariz., for a tournament held at Eastern Arizona.

Becheli said he is looking for the team to put more energy on the defensive side of the ball which would help lead to more opportunities on offense.

"We're trying to work together and have more players step up and contribute to the team," he said.

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