Thunderbirds Fall to Lumberjacks In Big Sky Opener
CEDAR CITY, Utah - New Year’s Eve marked the beginning of Big Sky conference play for the SUU women’s basketball team as they opened at home against conference rival Northern Arizona. The Thunderbirds took a commanding lead in the first quarter, but the Lumberjacks were able to climb their way back in and take the Thunderbirds to overtime where they would eventually secure the 77-68 win.
“We’ve got a lot to learn and it’s partly a maturity thing. We’ve got kids that are still trying to figure out that when conference play hits it doesn’t matter how great you come out in the first quarter, teams know it’s a 40 minute game and you have to execute all the way through,” head coach Chris Boettcher said. “I thought we did a really good job of maintaining our lead throughout and fighting back when we lost it in the fourth to give us a chance to win it.”
The Thunderbirds were the only team to break the 20-point mark in a single quarter as they put up 21 points in the first to take a 10-point lead over the ‘Jacks. NAU would go on to outscore the T-Birds in the following three quarters chipping away until the score was 63-60 in favor of the home team.
With only four seconds remaining in the game, redshirt junior Olivia Lucero sunk a deep three-point shot to send the game into overtime. The Thunderbirds were not able to recover in extra time as they only put up five points to the Lumberjacks’ 14.
Despite the loss, two Thunderbirds were able to post double-doubles Saturday afternoon. Senior Jessica Richardson had her second in a row as she led the team with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Darri Frandsen had her third of the season as she scored 14 points and pulled in 12 rebounds. She also had three steals and two blocks on the night.
Boettcher had high praises for Richardson and Frandsen saying, “Those two have been consistently good all year and we need to be able to take advantage of that with more people contributing in big spots. You can win a lot of basketball games with 68 points and those two doing what they did.”
The Lady T-Birds will continue Big Sky play in 2017 as they take on Northern Colorado and North Dakota at home next week.To stay up to date during the games and throughout the 2016-17 season follow @SUUWBasketball on Twitter and Instagram and like the SUU Women’s Basketball page on Facebook.