Junior Guard Andrea Jones
SUU Strategic Communications

T-Birds Close Out Homestand This Week

February 11, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Southern Utah (11-12, 5-8 BSC) closes out its Big Sky homestand this week with matchups scheduled against Portland State (11-12, 5-9) and Eastern Washington (13-10, 9-5). The Thunderbirds ended their game at PSU earlier this year on a 10-0 run to win 70-68 in overtime then suffered a 79-70 defeat two days later at EWU. The Vikings are coming off a loss to Sacramento State and will visit the Centrum Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Eagles have won six of their last eight to climb up to third in the conference standings and will be in town this Saturday night for another 7 o’clock tip. Coverage of this week’s games can be found on www.suutbirds.com.


Portland State split a pair of home games last week, knocking off NAU, 66-61 before falling to Sac State, 88-82. Senior guard Courtney VanBrocklin is second in the Big Sky with an average of 14.9 ppg while Angela Misa ranks second in rebounding with 10.2 rpg. Head coach Sherri Murrell is in her sixth season at PSU where she holds a record of 109-71. Southern Utah’s 70-68 overtime win in Portland earlier this season improved their all-time record to 2-10 against the Vikings.

Eastern Washington took a 63-49 victory over Sac State last week before suffering a 62-58 setback against Northern Arizona.  The Eagles’ roster features two of the best shooters in the BSC  with Hayley Hodgins connecting on 40.7 percent of her shots from behind the arc and Lexie Nelson checking in at 38.9 percent. Nelson also ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 13.7 ppg. Head coach Wendy Schuller is in her 12th season at the school where she holds a career record of 155-190. EWU held off the Thunderbirds for a 79-70 win at home earlier this season, but SUU still leads the all-time series, 5-3.

Idaho State held Southern Utah to a season-low 50 points on 28.3 percent shooting to take a 60-50 win over the T-Birds. Bengal forward Cydney Horton exploded for a career-best 28 points on 11-14 shooting. ISU got another 12 points from Lindsey Reed. Kimie Hawkins was the only T-Bird to score in double figures, finishing the game with 13 points. SUU held a 46-38 advantage on the glass and outscored ISU in bench points by a count of 25-2 but matched its season low with 17 total field goals in the contest.

Southern Utah hit seven threes on its way to a 72-54 win over visiting Weber State. Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko hit 4-8 from behind the arc and Sofia Hepworth added two more from the outside. SUU shot just under 40 percent from the floor on the night, but was 7-16 (43.8%) from three-point territory. The Thunderbirds held WSU to 17-45 shooting which included an 18.2 percent mark from the outside. The T-Birds dominated the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats 46-33.


The Thunderbirds have proved themselves to be a strong rebounding team and are currently averaging 44.7 boards a game, the best mark in the Big Sky. SUU also holds a +7.3 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which is the 29th-best mark in the nation. Junior forward Carli Moreland leads the T-Birds on the glass with an average of 6.6 rpg.

Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko is shooting 36.4 percent from behind the arc this season, a mark that puts her in the top ten shooters in the Big Sky and among the top 65 players in the nation. She hit six threes at SJSU early in the year and knocked down five against NAU. Mandelko’s hot shooting helped her to be named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Dec. 10.

The T-Bird offense has been putting up big numbers this season, twice eclipsing the 90-point mark and averaging 70 points a game. That number puts SUU in the top 45 among the nation’s scoring offenses and second in the Big Sky. Southern Utah also ranks in the top 80 in the NCAA with an average of 14.3 assists.

The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team has received its first commitments of the 2013 recruiting class as Madison Wright of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wash. and Mary Klapperich of Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska have signed NLIs and will join the Thunderbirds next fall.


The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team was 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.