SUU VISITS NO. 12 COLORADO
Southern Utah (7-2, 1-0 BSC) returns to its neighboring state to the east this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to close out its non-conference schedule with a matchup against the No. 12 Colorado Buffaloes (9-1, 0-0 Pac-12). The Thunderbirds opened Big Sky play with a 75-63 win at Northern Colorado last week while the Buffs fell at No. 7 Louisville by a score of 69-62 for their first loss of the season. SUU faces a ranked team for the first time this year, and a Pac-12 opponent for the sixth consecutive season. Coverage of T-Bird basketball can be found at www.suutbirds.com.
Colorado climbed in the polls after starting the year a perfect 9-0, including a 6-0 record at home, wtih wins against Iowa, New Mexico and Illinois, and currently sits at No. 12 after suffering a 62-69 setback at No. 7 Louisville in its last outing. The Buffaloes have four players scoring in double figures led by junior forward Jen Reese who is shooting over 54 percent from the floor for 13.6 ppg. Sophomore Arielle Roberson checks in just behind at 13.4 ppg and is the team’s leading rebounder with an average of 8.3 boards a game. Linda Lappe is in her third season as the head coach at her alma mater where she holds a record of 73-38. Colorado has won each of the two teams‘ previous meetings, claiming a 81-38 win over SUU during the 2007-08 season and an 88-36 decision during Coach JR Payne’s first season with the Thunderbirds in 2009.
T-BIRDS WIN BIG SKY OPENER
Southern Utah senior Carli Moreland scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Thunderbirds to a 75-63 win in the team’s Big Sky opener at Northern Colorado (5-4, 0-1) last Thursday. The SUU center erupted for 17 points in the second half, including a stretch of nine straight in the closing minutes, to help her team pull away for the victory. Moreland went 7-13 from the field and set a career-mark by hitting 11-of-12 at the foul line. Lori Parkinson recorded her third double-double of the year after pulling down 10 boards and matching her career-high with 18 points. Andrea Jones dropped in another 14 for the T-Birds to go along with two steals and seven assists. The Thunderbirds have won three of their last four matchups with the Bears.
MORELAND MADNESS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah senior Carli Moreland was named the Big Sky Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Dec. 23. The Broomfield, Colo. native averaged 19.5 points a game and 10.0 rebounds to lead Southern Utah to a pair of victories while recording her third double-double of the season as the Thunderbirds ran away from Arizona Christian before posting a career-high 25 points in the team’s win at Northern Colorado.
BIG SKY HONORABLE MENTION
Southern Utah guard Hailey Mandelko was named among the student-athletes to receive Big Sky honorable mention recognition followoing the 2012-13 season. As a sophomore, she led SUU during the regular season by scoring 11.9 points a game. Mandelko also recorded 50 assists, 40 steals and 83 rebounds for the T-Birds while shooting over 78 percent at the foul line. Mandelko was twice named the Big Sky Player of the Week.
SUU SIXTH IN PRESEASON POLL
After being picked to finish last in the Big Sky preseason poll last season, Southern Utah came in sixth in this year’s conference coaches vote. Eastern Washington was selected atop the poll while receiving six first-place votes, followed by Montana (3) and Northern Colorado (2). Montana State and Idaho State came in just ahead of SUU while Portland State and North Dakota were also picked to the make it to the postseason tournament.
Southern Utah set a new school record with 74 total rebounds and 39 offensive rebounds in its 101-44 victory over Arizona Christian. The new rebounding mark broke a 35-year old record set against the former Dixie College in 1978.
Southern Utah is shooting 74.2 percent from the foul line as a team this season. That mark ranks third in the Big Sky and 78th in the nation. Senior Andrea Jones is a perfect 20-20 from the line and is the Thunderbirds all-time leader with a career percentage of 85.8.
Southern Utah is picking up votes in the College Insider Women’s Mid-Major Top-25 poll. Big Sky member Sacramento State currently sits at No. 23 in the rankings.
Carli Moreland has cracked the SUU record books in two separate career categories as she currently ranks eighth in rebounds (608), and fifth in blocked shots (83). The senior center needs just 25 rebounds to catch her former Tayler Anderson (633) and 35 blocks to equal Thunderbird great Cherri Frandsen (118). Senior guard Andrea Jones will look to distance herself as Southern Utah’s best free throw shooter as her current mark of 85.8 percent is the best in program history. She is also climbing in assists (225) where she sits at seventh all-time and is also chasing Anderson (247).