Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
THUNDERBIRDS WRAP UP ROAD SLATE WITH STOPS AT OAKLAND AND IPFW
Southern Utah will make its final road trip as a member of the Summit League this week with games scheduled at Oakland and IPFW. The Thunderbirds took a 80-68 win over the Mastodons at home earlier this season behind 22 points from DJ Norman and held an eight-point lead halfway through their contest with OU before the Grizzlies rallied late in the second half for a 64-60 victory over SUU. Oakland has already punched its ticket to the Summit League Tournament with a record of 6-8 in conference play while IPFW is still looking to secure its spot and currently sits at 5-9. The T-Birds will meet up with the Grizzlies this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. before facing off against the ‘Dons on Monday at 5 p.m. (MT)
FOLLOW THE THUNDERBIRDS
Southern Utah University women’s basketball fans can follow all home and select away games via LiveStats at www.SUUTBIRDS.com. All home games will be video streamed on www.SUUTBIRDS.com and broadcast on the radio at 91.1 FM and online at www.suu.edu/hss/comm/ksuu/webcast.html.
ABOUT THE OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES
Oakland has dropped four of its last five since defeating SUU on Jan. 21, and is currently tied for sixth place in the Summit League standings with a record of 6-8. Grizzlies forward Bethany Watterworth is one of the top scorers in the conference with an average of 19.2 points a game. Averaging 5.1 blocks per game and holding opponents to just 37.8 percent shooting, OU also sports one of the league’s best defenses. The Grizzlies got 20 points from Watterworth in their first meeting with the T-Birds this year to claim a 64-60 win in Cedar City. Head coach Becky Francis is in her 12th season at Oakland where she has led the team to a record of 209-130.
ABOUT THE IPFW MASTODONS
IPFW took a 52-45 win at Oakland last week to snap a six-game losing skid that began with a 80-68 defeat at Southern Utah on Jan 21. The Mastodons are one spot ahead of SUU in the Summit League standings with a 5-9 mark on the year. Three ‘Dons are scoring in the double figures this season, including Stephanie Rosado (14.0 ppg), Erin Murphy (11.3) and Anne Boese (11.7). Boese is also one of the top outside shooters in the league with 2.6 3FG a contest. Head coach Chris Paul has compiled a record of 73-104 over the past six seasons at IPFW.
SOUTHERN UTAH EDGED BY WESTERN ILLINOIS
Western Illinois used a late surge to take a 76-70 win over Southern Utah Monday night. In a contest that saw a dozen lead changes, the Leathernecks were able to outscore the Thunderbirds 9-4 over the final two minutes to come out on top. Southern Utah took the loss despite holding a 42-27 advantage on the boards and converting 23-of-26 shots at the free throw line to just 16-18 for Western Illinois. Moreland finished the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Thunderbirds who got another 12 points and 10 boards from Kimie Hawkins. Andrea Jones racked up 15 points while playing all 40 minutes for SUU. Saule Kontautaite knocked down four three-pointers on her way to 18 points for the visitors.
KIMIE HAWKINS’ BIG DOUBLE-DOUBLE PROPELS SUU TO VICTORY
Kimie Hawkins turned in a career-high 17 rebounds to go along with 16 points to help Southern Utah take a 58-48 win over visiting IUPUI on Saturday. The junior forward hit a career-best 12 free throws on 14 attempts to help SUU earn its fourth home-victory this season. Hawkins was one of three Thunderbirds to finish in the double-figures, as SUU got 12 from Moreland and another 13 from Anderson, who matched her career-best. Freshman forward Nevena Markovic led the Jaguars with 16 of her own. The Thunderbird defense was solid throughout, holding the Jaguars to just 30.6 percent shooting on the night, the lowest mark of any SUU opponent this season. SUU was able to hold Jaguar forward Kerah Nelson to just five points on 1-10 shooting. The junior came into the game as one of the Summit League’s top-scorers averaging 16.7 points per game. The T-Birds also held a significant advantage on the glass in the contest, outrebounding IUPUI by a count of 48-29.
ANDREA JONES CAREER-HIGH 29 POINTS NOT ENOUGH AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE
Southern Utah wasn’t able to keep up with North Dakota State on their home court Monday as the Bison had four players score in the double figures, led by Abby Plucker who finished with 20, to take a 74-56 win over the Thunderbirds. Sophomore guard Andrea Jones posted a career-high 29-points for SUU in the loss, recording the highest offensive output by any T-Bird this season. Jones was 11-22 from the field in the game with one three-pointer. 23 of her 29 points came in the second period as SUU tried to rally from a 17-point halftime deficit. The sophomore guard was the only Thunderbird to finish in the double-figures. SUU shot the ball 41 percent as a team, its highest mark since going 54 percent from the floor in a win over IPFW on Jan. 21. The Bison held a 37-30 advantage on the boards and knocked down 20 free throws to the Thunderbird’s 13.
SUU SUFFERS SETBACK AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
Southern Utah dropped a 65-43 contest at Summit League leading South Dakota State Saturday to fall to 0-6 on the road in conference play. The Thunderbirds held the Jacks to just 38.3% shooting from the field in the game, but SDSU was able to pull away after scoring 27 points off turnovers. SDSU demonstrated a balanced scoring attack as 10 different players recorded a score for the Jackrabbits. Eide would lead the way with 11 points while Jennie Sunnarborg had 10. Andrea Jones put up 13 for the Thunderbirds while DJ Norman came off the bench for 11. The T-Birds were only able to get to the free throw line 14 times in the game where they converted nine attempts. The two sides were even on the boards as both teams finished with 32 rebounds.
UMKC TAKES 64-46 WIN OVER SUU
Southern Utah was unable to overcome a slow start in its matchup with UMKC on Monday as the Thunderbirds suffered a 64-46 defeat after scoring just 10 points in the opening half. Dayon Hall Jones led all scorers with 19 points in the game while Kim Nezianya chipped in another 10 for the ‘Roos. Carli Moreland finished the night with 17 for SUU, nine of which came at the foul line, and Kimie Hawkins had 14. Southern Utah had a difficult night shooting the ball, going just 11-38 from the floor for a 28.9% field goal percentage. The Thunderbirds would do most of their scoring on free throws, converting on 24-of-33 attempts at the line. The SUU defense was able to hold the UMKC offense in check as the ‘Roos shot just 32.8 percent in the contest.
SOUTHERN UTAH SUFFERS HOME LOSS TO SOUTH DAKOTA
Southern Utah had one of its lowest offensive outputs of the season Saturday as it fell to visiting South Dakota by a score of 68-40. The Coyotes held the Thunderbirds to just 27 percent shooting in the game while scoring 13 three-point field goals to come away with the win. The two teams traded baskets early on in the second until the Coyotes pushed their advantage to 20 on a jumper by Amber Hegge. Southern Utah made several attempts to narrow the deficit but South Dakota held a 34-22 scoring advantage in the second half to pull away for the 68-40 victory. The Thunderbirds held Hegge to just eight points in the game, well below her team best average of 18.3. Roche filled in with 16 points while going 4-7 from the three-point line. Moreland would be the only T-Bird to reach the double-figures after finishing with 10 points in the contest.
OAKLAND USES LATE RALLY TO TAKE WIN OVER SUU
Andrea Jones scored a career-high 22 points against Oakland for Southern Utah on Monday night, but the Grizzlies were able to come back in the game’s final minutes to take a 64-60 win over the Thunderbirds. A 20-5 Oakland run down the stretch saw the Grizzlies level the score at 49, then go up seven at 57-50. Southern Utah scored 10 points in the final minute-and-a-half to draw within four, but Oakland was able to convert from the free throw line to hold on for the 64-60 victory. Jones’ 22 led all scorers while Moreland added another 18 along with 16 rebounds for SUU. Bethany Watterworth had 20 points for the Grizzlies, including 16 in the second half, and Amy Carlton came off the bench for a dozen.
T-BIRDS SNAP SKID WITH WIN OVER IPFW
Southern Utah snapped an eight-game losing-streak and earned its first Summit League victory of the year with an 80-68 win over visiting IPFW on Saturday night. The Thunderbirds leading scorer Hailey Mandelko left the game in the first half after a colliding with a defender, but her fellow starting guard DJ Norman picked up the slack with a career high 22 points to help SUU come away with the win. In addition to Norman’s career high 22, SUU also got 14 from Moreland while Kimie Hawkins and Jones each chipped in 10. Freshman guard Haley Siebert led IPFW with 21 after going 4-5 from behind the arc.
THUNDERBIRD RALLY COMES UP JUST SHORT AT WESTERN ILLINOIS
Southern Utah mounted a strong rally in the second half of its road contest at Western Illinois Saturday, but the Thunderbirds would come up just short as the Leathernecks were able to hold on for the 82-70 victory. Freshman guard Hailey Mandelko scored 20 points for SUU, helping her team come within as little as three points late in the game, but four Leathernecks would finish in the double-figures to help WIU take the 12-point win. Mandelko had a big night for SUU as the freshman guard hit three shots from behind the arc on the way to her fourth 20-point game of the season. Carli Moreland also had an outstanding performance, turning in her fifth double-double this year with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Western Illinois would have four players finish in the double-figures as the Leathernecks got 14 from Salvatori to go along with 16 from Kelly, while Kontautaite put up 19 and Webb finished with 20.
SOUTHERN UTAH DROPS ROAD CONTEST AT ORAL ROBERTS
Oral Roberts turned in its best offensive performance of the season on its way to a 109-59 victory over Southern Utah. The Golden Eagles shot over 50% from the field and made 10 three-pointers to pull away from visiting SUU. Two-time All-Summit League Player of the Year Kevi Luper led all scorers with 31 to help her team to its highest offensive output of the season. ORU would also get 13 from Bigham while Jordan Pyle and Amber Carver each finished with 10. The Thunderbirds were led by Carli Moreland who set a new career mark with eight free throws on her way to 14 total points. The sophomore forward also recorded her third double double of the season as she pulled down 10 rebounds. Hailey Mandelko finished with 13 in the game, nine of which came on threes, while Torey Hill came off the bench for a career high eight points on 4-6 shooting.
SOUTHERN UTAH PULLS AWAY FROM UTAH VALLEY 80-65
Southern Utah had one of its most productive nights of offense so far this season on Wednesday, outscoring visiting in-state rival Utah Valley by a final count of 80-65. Freshman point guard Hailey Mandelko led all scorers with 23 points, finishing the game 4-8 from behind the arc and 7-7 at the free throw line, setting career marks in all three categories. Three other players would also score in the double-figures for SUU as Kimie Hawkins had 12, DJ Norman matched a career high with 10 and Carli Moreland set a new personal best with 17. Junior forward Tayler Anderson also helped to fill the box score with eight points, seven assists and eight rebounds. Junior center Erica Newbold paced Utah Valley with 14 points, six of which came from the free throw line.
T-BIRDS KNOCK OFF NEW MEXICO STATE IN FINAL SECONDS
Southern Utah captured its first win of the young season as freshman point guard Hailey Mandelko sank a jumper from the free throw line in the closing seconds of the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic finale to lift the Thunderbirds to a 58-57 victory over tournament host New Mexico State. Mandelko finished the game with 14 total points, and was one of four T-Birds to score in the double figures. Tayler Anderson and Brenna Gates both posted new career high in points for SUU, scoring 12 and 13 respectively, while junior forward Carli Moreland recorded her second consecutive double double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The Aggies were led by Wampler who carried the load for NMSU with 20 points in the contest.
T-BIRDS RECEIVE FIRST COMMIT OF 2012 RECRUITING CLASS
Basia Klein of San Clemente, Calif. signed an NLI to play at Southern Utah and will join the Thunderbirds next fall. The 5’11” forward has had a remarkable high school career so far, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, and five steals during her time at Santa Margarita. Her team recognized her efforts by giving her their Most Improved Player Award as a Varsity Starter in 2010. She has also been listed as a prospect on the ESPN Hoopgurlz listings for the past three seasons.
THUNDERBIRDS ADD TWO NEW ASSISTANTS TO COACHING STAFF
Southern Utah University has announced the hiring of assistant coaches Nicole Ryan and Caitlyn Sears who will join T-Birds women’s basketball team. Nicole Ryan comes to Southern Utah from American University where after a successful playing career, spent a year as a student assistant. Ryan was a standout guard at American where she helped lead the Eagles to three consecutive NIT appearances and one regular season championship in the Patriot League.
Caitlyn Sears continues to be an important contributor to T-Bird basketball as she makes the transition from player to coach. This past season Sears concluded one of the most productive playing careers in the history of SUU basketball, becoming Southern Utah’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,216 total points.
THUNDERBIRDS ACCEPT INVITATION TO JOIN BIG SKY CONFERENCE
Southern Utah University’s athletic program will have a new home, beginning in the fall of this year. SUU received and accepted a formal invitation to join the conference on Nov. 1, 2010. The University of North Dakota also accepted an invitation from the Big Sky on the same date. Southern Utah will reap many benefits as members of the Big Sky, including reduced travel costs, ease of scheduling and, at least in the case of football, the opportunity to play for an automatic post-season bid. Last, but certainly not least, SUU’s programs will be able to build on natural regional rivalries within the conference rather than with institutions with no geographic ties to Utah. The Thunderbirds currently compete in The Summit League in the majority of their sports, with the closest conference opponent located in Tulsa, Okla.
Sat. Mar. 8
vs. Northern Colorado
(W) 63 -48
Thu. Mar. 6
vs. North Dakota
(W) 73 -53
Sat. Mar. 1
vs. Montana State
(W) 70 -60
Wed. Feb. 26
(W) 69 -49
Sat. Feb. 22
@ Portland State
(W) 86 -79
Thu. Feb. 20
@ Eastern Washington
(L) 54 -59
Thu. Mar. 13
@ Sacramento State
Big Sky Conference Tournament