The Southwestern Oregon Community College women’s basketball team came up short in its second game in a tournament at Twin Falls, Idaho, on Saturday.

The Lakers fell to Utah State University Eastern 85-59, though they played fairly even in two of the four quarters.

“The biggest thing was we gave them a 10-0 lead to start the game, the first three minutes or so,” SWOCC coach Jeff Johnson said. “We missed a couple shots right at the rim to start the game. We were playing from behind the rest of the game.

“We came out flat after halftime. I have to figure out how to get us going at the start of the game and out of halftime. That’s been the trend this weekend.”

USU Eastern outscored the Lakers 26-16 in the first quarter and 25-12 in the third. The other two quarters, the Lakers were outscored by just three total points.

“The ladies played hard for me,” Johnson said. “We brought the energy and the attitude that we needed to.

“We had a really good run to start the fourth to chop the lead down pretty good. It was one of our better fourth quarters.”

Kealani Neves led the Lakers with 20 points. Taylor Norris added 14 points and Meghan Holloman 13. Abby Neff had seven points and a team-best 10 rebounds.

Five players scored in double figures for USU Eastern and another had nine. Sharn Pupuke-Robati had 18 points to lead the Eagles. She also had nine rebounds and six assists.

SWOCC fell to 1-3 early in the season.

“The good part is we’re only four games into it,” Johnson said. “We’ve got plenty of time to right the ship.”

The Lakers will focus on getting stops defensively and rebounding better, the coach said.

Both games over weekend came against teams that are not in the NWAC and are national-level programs.

“We knew it was going to be a tough weekend for us, with two really good programs,” Johnson said. “That’s just going to help us get ready for league when we will play the tough teams in (the South Region).”

The Lakers see three of their league foes this weekend at the Clackamas Thanksgiving Tournament, when they will play Portland, Umpqua and the host Cougars Friday through Sunday.

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