The Thunderbirds took a 60-54 win at UVU earlier this season.
SUU Strategic Communications

T-Birds Set to Face UVU for a Second Time

December 27, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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After picking up a 60-54 at North Dakota in its Big Sky debut last week, the Thunderbirds are currently riding a four-game winning streak that started with a 71-66 road win at Utah Valley back on Dec. 6. SUU can make it seven-straight victories over the Wolverines when UVU visits the Centrum Arena for a rematch this Saturday at 5 p.m. Southern Utah University will play host to its final basketball doubleheader of the season that night as the men’s team will round out the evening by hosting Big Sky opponent Northern Colorado at 7:35. Coverage of this week’s games can be found on

Utah Valley boasts in-state victories over Weber State and Utah State this season, but hasn’t come up with a win against the T-Birds since 2009. The Wolverines  are coming off an 81-45 defeat at #25 Colorado in their most recent outing.Senior forward Sammie Jensen has been the standout for the Wolverines so far, averaging 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds. She turned in a 19 point, 15 rebound performace when the two teams met in Orem earlier this month. Head Coach Cathy Nixon is in her 18th season at UVU where she has compiled a career record of 301-227. SUU leads the all-time series 9-4 after winning the past six meetings.


Southern Utah held on for a 60-54 win at North Dakota to claim a big road victory in its first Big Sky contest. The T-Birds pulled ahead on several occasions only to see UND come back each time. SUU was able to fend off the final rally however, holding its opponent scoreless over the final two minutes to come away with the win. Hailey Mandelko led the way with 11 points while Andrea Jones chipped in another 10 for the T-Birds.

The Southern Utah University Women’s basketball team matched its school record by knocking down 15 three-point field goals in a 93-82 win at San Jose State on Dec. 8. The T-Birds shot over 57 percent from downtown to go along with a season-high field goal mark of 49.3 percent. Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko led the way by hitting five three-pointers to set a new career high with 27 points. Marquelle Funk also set a new career-mark by scoring 16.

The T-Bird offense has been putting up big numbers this season, twice eclipsing 90 points and averaging 71.5 points a game. That number puts SUU in the top 40 among the nation’s scoring offenses. Southern Utah also ranks in the top 25 in the NCAA with a team three-point field goal percentage mark of 36.0%.


Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko has hit 19 of her first 40 attempts from three to start the season, including a 6-10 performance in Southern Utah’s 93-82 win at San Jose State. Mandelko’s three-point shooting percentage currently sits at 47.5 percent, which ranks 13th in the country. She is also averaging 3.17 makes a game from the outside, a mark that puts her in the top 11 in the NCAA. Mandeko’s hot shooting helped her to be named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Dec. 10.

The Thunderbirds have proved themselves to be a strong rebounding team and are currently averaging 45.4 boards a game. SUU also holds a +8.5 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which is the 30th best mark in the nation. Senior forward Kimie Hawkins has been the top T-Bird on the glass so far this season with her average of 8.3 rpg putting her among the top 140 players in the NCAA.


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 added new assistant coach Jill Mahoney during this past offseason. 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 brought in 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, 13 rebound performance against Southern Oregon. She then followed that up with a 16 point, 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).