Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
BIG SKY STANDINGS ON THE LINE
Southern Utah (10-9, 4-5 BSC) will face the teams immediately ahead of and behind it in the Big Sky standings this weekend with conference positioning on the line. On Saturday the Thunderbirds meet up with Sacramento State (10-8, 5-4) which is one game up on SUU, but fell by a score of 79-71 in Cedar City earlier this year. After that it’s a trip to Northern Arizona (4-14, 3-6) which took a 71-61 win over the T-Birds in their last meeting but is currently a game back in conference play. SUU tips off against the Hornets this Saturday at 3 p.m. (MT) and then takes on the Lumberjacks on Monday at 6:35 p.m. Coverage of this week’s games can be found on www.suutbirds.com.
ABOUT THE HORNETS
The Hornets’ roster features three players with scoring averages in the double-figures, led by Alle Moreno at 12.8 ppg. Senior forward Kylie Kuhns is the Big Sky’s top-rebounder with 10.5 rpg. The team also leads the BSC in blocks (6.3 bpg), steals (12.3 spg) and assists (16.4 apg). Head Coach Jamie Craighead is in her fourth season at Sac State where she has compiled a career record of 41-67. The Thunderbirds took a 79-71 win behind 22 points from Kimie Hawkins in the first meeting between the two schools earlier this season to take a 10-9 lead in the all-time series.
ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS
Senior guard Amy Patton is the top-scorer for the Lumberjacks and in the BSC with 19.7 points a game to go along with an average of eight rebounds, which ranks her third in the conference. The team leads the Big Sky with a field goal percentage mark of 41.2 percent but ranks near the bottom of the conference with 36 rpg. Head Coach Sue Darling brings a career record of 13-80 into her first season at NAU. The Lumberjacks currently lead the all-time series with Southern Utah 15-10, which includes a 71-61 decision in Cedar City earlier this season.
T-BIRDS BATTLE, FALL AT EWU, 79-70
Southern Utah came away from its visit to Eastern Washington with a 79-70 loss in a tightly contested matchup that helped the Eagles earn their fourth-straight win. The Thunderbirds couldn’t keep up with Eastern Washington which was 8-14 from the three-point line and shot the ball 44.2 percent overall. SUU held a 44-25 rebounding advantage, including 24 offensive rebounds that resulted in 19 second-chance points, but the Eagles put in 25-26 free throw attempts and scored 24 points off of turnovers. Lexie Nelson finished with 21 to lead the Eagles after hitting 3-4 from behind the arc. Hailey Mandelko scored 14 for the T-Birds and Desiree Jackson turned in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
SUU ESCAPES IN OT AT PSU
Southern Utah came back in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime and then erased an eight-point deficit in the extra period to escape with a 70-68 win at Portland State Thursday night. The Thunderbirds fell behind by a score of 68-60 with just over a minute to play before recording the final 10 points of the night to come up with the improbable win. Four different Thunderbirds finished in double-figures as Hailey Mandelko led the way for SUU with 15 points. PSU was led by sophomore guard Allison Greene who had 16.
The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team has received its first commitments of the 2013 recruiting class as Madison Wright of Spokane, Wash. and Mary Klapperich of Palmer, Alaska have signed NLIs and will join the Thunderbirds next fall.
LIGHTING UP THE “SCORE-BIRD”
The T-Bird offense has been putting up big numbers this season, twice eclipsing the 90-point mark and averaging nearly 70 points a game. That number puts SUU in the top 50 among the nation’s scoring offenses. Southern Utah also ranks in the top 80 in the NCAA with an average of 14.3 assists.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
The Thunderbirds have proved themselves to be a strong rebounding team and are currently averaging 44.2 boards a game, the best mark in the Big Sky. SUU also holds a +6.6 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which is the 36th best mark in the nation. Senior forward Kimie Hawkins has been the top T-Bird on the glass so far this season with an average of 6.5 rpg.
Hailey Mandelko was selected as a member of the Summit League All-Newcomer Team in 2011-12 after leading Southern Utah with 14.0 ppg in conference play, an average that ranked eighth among the league’s top scorers. She also ranked second with a 41% three-point field goal percentage.
SUU ELEVENTH IN PRESEASON POLL
The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team 2as picked to finish eleventh in its first season as a member of the Big Sky Conference. Defending champion Idaho State received eight first-place votes to come out on top of the coaches’ poll followed by Northern Colorado and the University of Montana. Northern Arizona and Weber State were slotted ninth and tenth respectively, just ahead of SUU.
• After starting the year 2-4, Southern Utah has won eight of its last 13 games and ran off five-straight wins in the month of December.
• The Thunderbirds have nine different players playing over 13 minutes a game and no one averaging more than 26 minutes (Marquelle Funk, 25.3 mpg).
• In its ten wins this season SUU is averaging 76.7 points a game and shooting 42 percent from the floor. In their nine losses the T-Birds are scoring just over 62 points a game and shooting 36.1 percent.
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