SUU HEADS TO BTI CLASSIC
It’s tournament time for the T-Birds as Southern Utah heads to Lubbock, Texas for the 2012 Basketball Travelers Classic. The Thunderibirds will play in three games in three days, starting with a matchup with tournament host Texas Tech (3-1) on Friday at 5 p.m. (MT) SUU will then take on Nicholls State (3-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. and wrap things up against the University of New Orleans (0-2) on Sunday at 11 a.m.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech is off to a 2-1 start on the year after picking up wins over Arizona State and Lipscomb and taking a loss at New Mexico. Senior guard Monique Smalls has shot 67 percent from the three point line in her first the games and is the Lady Raiders top-scorer with an average of 14.0 ppg. Christine Hyde is the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 7.7 rpg from the guard line.Head coach Kristy Curry is in her seventh season at Texas Tech where she has compiled a record of 109-87 to go along with her career mark of 388-138. This week’s matchup will be the first time Southern Utah has faced Texas Tech.
ABOUT NEW ORLEANS
The University of New Orleans picked up a 68-58 win over Arkansas-Monticello in its last outing to snap a 30-game losing skid and improve to 1-2 on the year. The Privateers currently have two players scoring in the double-figures with Keri Thomas at 15.0 ppg and Mechel’le Thomas at 13.7. Mathilda Fogelstrom leads UNO on the boards with 10.7 rpg. Head coach Keeshawn Carter is in her second season at her Alma Mater where she picked up her first victory this past week to improve her head coaching record to 1-28. The Thunderbirds came away with a 64-57 win in the two teams only previous meeting in a game played at the Centrum Arena back in 1998.
ABOUT NICHOLLS STATE
After suffering an 87-57 defeat in its season-opener at DePaul, Nicholls State has taken three-straight wins over Mississippi Vally State, the University of New Orleans and the University of Lousiana-Monroe to improve to 3-1. Four different Colonels have double-digit scoring averages so far this year including junior guard KK Babin (14.5 ppg), LiAnn McCarthy (12.0 ppg), Alisha Allen (10.8 ppg) and Jenny Nash (10.0 ppg). Junior forward Jasmine Scott follows close behind with 9.0 ppg and is the team’s top-rebounder with 8.0 rpg. Head coach Kristy Curry is in her fifth season at Nicholls State where she has compiled a record of 29-86 to go along with her career mark of 186-309. This week’s matchup will be the first time Southern Utah has faced Nicholls State.
THUNDERBIRDS FALL TO UTES, 79-61
After falling behind by as many as 23 points in its road-opener at Utah on Tuesday, SUU came back to cut the margin into the single digits in the game’s closing moments. The Thunderbird rally would come up just short however as the Utes were able to hold on for the 79-61 victory. Junior Marissa Robbins was the Thunderbirds top-scorer with 10 points, but 10 different players scored for SUU. The T-Birds shot just 32.9 percent from the floor and allowed Utah to go 25-36 from the foul line.
T-BIRDS DOWN SOUTHERN OREGON
Sofia Hepworth came off the bench to lead Southern Utah to a 99-71 win over Southern Oregon in the team’s regular season opener on Saturday night. The junior transfer player had 21 points in a game that saw the Thunderbird reserves record 60 points. The Southern Utah offense started the season strong recording its highest scoring total since the 2010-11 season while shooting 42.3 percent from the floor. The T-Birds also held a 56-39 rebounding advantage and went 30-45 from the foul line.
SUU PERFECT IN PRESEASON
Southern Utah wrapped up the preseason with a 71-59 win over Dixie State to finish with a record of 2-0 in exhibition play. Kimie Hawkins led the T-Birds to victory with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The win came two days after SUU opened the year with a 83-62 win over New Mexico Highlands. Sophomore guard Marquelle Funk led Southern Utah with 18 points while connecting on 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.
SUU ELEVENTH IN PRESEASON POLL
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.
Hailey Mandelko was selected as a member of the Summit League All-Newcomer Team 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.
Carli Moreland received All-Summit honorable mention honors after ranking fifth in the conference in average rebounds (7.9), seventh in blocked shots (1.3), eleventh in scoring (12.3) and sixth in field-goal percentage (48.1%).
T-BIRDS ADD TO COACHING STAFF
Southern Utah University has announced the hiring of new assistant coach Jill Mahoney who will join the Thunderbird women’s basketball program for the upcoming season. 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.
BACK IN ACTION
Redshirt-Sophomore Desiree Jackson is back in the SUU lineup after missing the 2011-12 season with a knee injury. The 5-11 guard was one of Thunderbirds top scorers in her freshman campaign averaging 9.7 ppg.
SUU HAS SOMETHING ‘BRUIN’
Southern Utah adds 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.
• In its first two games of the year Southern Utah is averaging 15.0 steals, a significant jump from last season’s mark of 5.8 spg.
• The Thunderbirds have attempted 63 free throws in their first two games, converting on 40 of those tries. Last year SUU averaged 21.4 attempts per game and shot over 72% from the line.
• Southern Utah currently holds a +5.0 advantage in rebounding margin so far and outrebounded Southern Oregon by a count of 56-39.
• Junior Forward Carli Moreland recorded the first double-double of the season for SUU with an 11 point and 13 rebound performance against SOU. The game marked Moreland’s tenth 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).
• Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko has connected on five of her first 13 three-point field goal attempts this year for a 3FG% mark of 38 percent.