Senior forward Tayler Anderson
SUU Strategic Communications

T-Birds Set to Take on the Wolverines and Spartans on the Road

December 05, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

Related Links

Southern Utah (2-4) returns to the road this week to face in-state rival Utah Valley (2-7) and San Jose State University (3-4). The Thunderbirds will look for their sixth- straight win against the Wolverines when the two teams meet in Orem this Thursday at 7 p.m. SUU swept UVU last year, taking an 80-65 victory in Cedar City and coming up with a 60-58 win on Utah Valley’s home court. The T-Birds will then wrap up the weekend with a trip to San Jose for a 3 p.m. (MT) meeting with the Spartans. SJSU held on to edge SUU by a 70-68 final when the two teams met last season. Coverage of this week’s games can be found on
Utah Valley knocked off Weber State by a final score of 68-56 on Tuesday to snap a six-game losing skid after picking up their first win of the year with a 78-62 victory over Utah State. Senior forward Sammie Jensen has been a standout for the Wolverines this season, averaging 17.3 points and 12.5 rebounds. Head Coach Cathy Nixon is in her 18th season at UVU where she has compiled a career record of 299-224. SUU leads the all-time series 8-4.

After starting the year with a pair of wins, San Jose State has dropped three of its last four to fall to 3-4. The Spartans most recently suffered a 74-60 at home to Pacific this past Monday. Sophomore guard Ta’Rae Cunningham leads the team with over 20 ppg while freshman forward Riana Byrd is currently averaging 9.3 rpg. Head Coach Tim La Kose has lead SJSU to a record of 12-20 since taking over the program in 2011. The Spartans came away with a 70-68 win last year in Cedar City to improve to 4-1 all-time against the T-Birds.


Southern Utah took a 14-point halftime over New Mexico State in its second home game of the season Saturday night, but then saw the visiting Aggies rally late to pull out a 70-68 win in the game’s final seconds. NMSU guard Danesia Williamson drove the length of the court before laying a shot off the glass to give New Mexico State the lead in the final seconds. SUU finished the game with a 42.4 field goal percentage and went 7-14 from behind the arc while outrebounding the Aggies by a count of 43-33, but also turned the ball over 22 times. Moreland turned in her second double-double of the season for Southern Utah, racking up game-highs with 16 points and 13 rebounds.


Southern Utah’s Andrea Jones has been very stingy when it comes to turnovers this season. The SUU guard has only given up nine takeaways while dishing out 24 assists. That equates to a assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.67, the 18th best count in the NCAA. Jones has also been dangerous on the defensive end, averaging 1.33 steals per game.

The Thunderbirds have proved themselves to be a strong rebounding team and are currently averaging 46.5 boards a game. SUU also holds a +9.3 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which is the 27th best mark in the nation. Junior forward Carli Moreland has been the top T-Birds on the glass so far this season with an average of 8.0 rpg putting her among the top 150 players in the NCAA.

Southern Utah wrapped up the preseason with a 71-59 win over Dixie State to finish with a record of 2-0 in exhibition play. Kimie Hawkins led the T-Birds to victory with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The win came two days after SUU opened the year with a 83-62 win over New Mexico Highlands. Sophomore guard Marquelle Funk led Southern Utah with 18 points while connecting on 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.

The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team has been picked to finish eleventh in its first season a member of the Big Sky Conference. Defending champion Idaho State received eight first place votes to come out on top of the coaches polls followed by Northern Colorado and the University of Montana. Northern Arizona and Weber State were slotted ninth and tenth respectively, just ahead of SUU.


Southern Utah University has announced the hiring of new assistant coach Jill Mahoney who will join the Thunderbird women’s basketball program for the upcoming season. Mahoney comes to SUU from Western State College of Colorado where she helped the Mountaineers to a top four finish in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Southern Utah adds three JC transfers this year, all of whom were teammates at Salt Lake Community College over the past two seasons. Sofia Hepworth (G) was the Bruins leading scorer with 14.9 ppg, Marissa Robbins (G) ranked second on the team with 10.7 ppg and Nicole Newbold (F) shot over 53% from the floor for SLCC.


• Junior Forward Carli Moreland recorded the first double-double of the season for SUU with an 11 point and 13 rebound performance against SOU. She then followed that up with a 16 point and 13 rebound outing against New Mexico State for her 11th career double-double.
• SUU returns three different players who finished last season with a double-digit scoring average including, Hailey Mandelko (13.1 ppg), Carli Moreland (11.1) and Andrea Jones (10.6).
• Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko has connected on 11 of her first 24 three-point field goal attempts this year for a 3FG% mark of 45 percent.