Eastern Washington Edges SUU, 59-54
Neither side led by more than four points over the first 20 minutes and the two teams entered the locker room with the count even at 25-25. Mandelko knocked down a 3-pointer to put SUU in front 18-14 late in the period, but Eastern Washington came back with a pair of threes from Lexie Nelson and Hayley Hodgins to square things up before the break.
The Thunderbirds clung to a narrow lead throughout most of the second half and another jumper from Mandelko had Southern Utah again up by four with 8:25 remaining. Eastern Washington came back to tie the score on a basket from Jade Redmon, then ran off five straight points approaching to five-minute mark to go in front 49-46.
The advantage for the home team grew to six with just over a minute to play, but back-to-back scores from Mandelko had SUU within a basket with 22 seconds on the clock. EWU went 5-6 from the foul line from there however to come out on top, 59-54.
The game developed into a tightly-contested affair that saw both teams shoot 39 percent from the field, pull down a total of 32 rebounds and be separated by a single miscue in the overall turnover count. Eastern Washington held a slight edge in 3-point and free throw shooting, but the Thunderbirds outscored their opponents in the paint by a margin of 24-16. The night saw 14 lead changes and eight ties, including the halftime tally of 25-25.
Senior Carli Moreland added 11 points and eight rebounds for SUU while sophomore Lori Parkinson pulled down 11 boards. Nelson went 4-5 from 3-point range and Hodgins contributed another dozen for the home team.
Southern Utah plays its final road contest of the regular season this Saturday when it visits Portland State. The game is set to tip at 3:00 p.m. (MT) with coverage available online at www.suutbirds.com.