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New-look Lady Eagles making waves in SWAC play

The USU Eastern bench cheers a play while a new group of subs waits to enter a game against North Idaho College on Dec. 12.
USU Eastern Head Coach Dave Paur, second from left, credits Assistant Coach Dan Allen, center, with making a few changes to the Lady Eagles' defense. Paur said the changes have complimented the fast-paced offense.
USU Eastern's Shantaya Strebel drives to the basket against North Idaho College on Dec. 12. Strebel had 10 points in a win over CNCC on Jan. 25.
Lejla Hadzialijagic had six points and seven rebounds for USU Eastern in their 73-67 win over Colorado Northwestern CC on Jan. 25.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

Fast-paced offense, pressing defense and emphasis on team play helping Lady Eagles to great success

Before the season started, USU Eastern Head Coach Dave Paur wanted to create some excitement with the women's basketball program.

So he installed a fast-paced offense that focuses on quick shots, preferably from beyond arc as quickly in the shot clock as possible.

Add in a relentless pressing defense that hassles opponents into turnovers all over the court.

And sprinkle in a substitution method that sees new waves of players entering the game to keep up the quick-style of play.

With all of that, Paur was hoping those ideas would make for an exciting product and a winning team.

After the team's 22nd game, Paur is more than pleased with how things have played out.

"The players are much more comfortable with the new system," said Paur.

The Lady Eagles started the season 2-8. But with a better understanding of the offense and a few tweaks on defense, the Lady Eagles have gone 9-3 over their last 12 games. That streak includes a 1-1 record on the Idaho road trip.

"It was absolutely huge," Paur said noting the team has not attained a split on the Idaho trip in a decade.

USU Eastern added to that streak with a 73-67 road win over Colorado Northwestern CC last Saturday. The Lady Eagles shot 14-of-16 from the field in the second half to help get the win.

Paur credits Assistant Coach Dan Allen with making some key changes on the defensive end that have helped the Lady Eagles.

"Coach Allen helped put in some changes on defense that has helped to compliment our offensive style."

While the team may still be young on experience, Paur said the new style of play has made the Lady Eagles a team to be watched closely in SWAC play.

"We just try to keep grinding on other teams and tire them out as quickly as we can," he said. "We're in your face with the full court press trying to create turnovers over the entire game."

In their win over CNCC, USU Eastern had five players finish in double figures in scoring. Ten players averaged 10 or more minutes of playing time in the game.

With the fresh players continuing to come into the game, the Lady Eagles forced CNCC into 33 turnovers.

With an 11-11 overall record and a 5-3 mark in SWAC play, Paur knows nothing in the conference comes easy over the final month of the season.

"We're going to be home for the next three weeks, but we'll be playing good teams from here on out," said Paur.

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