Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
OGDEN, Utah, Jan. 12 – Southern Utah picked up a 74-61 win in its first Big Sky Conference meeting with rival Weber State on Saturday. The Thunderbirds got 14 points each from Hailey Mandelko, Kimie Hawkins and Carli Moreland to improve their conference record to 3-2 and 9-6 overall while dropping the Wildcats to marks of 0-5 and 0-14 on the year while extending their NCAA leading losing streak to 34 games.
The Wildcat defense kept things close in the start as SUU connected on just six of its first 20 shots from the field and trailed by four early on. Back-to-back scores from Kia Rhodes and Jalen Carpenter put the home team out in front 17-13 halfway through the opening period.
The next several minutes saw SUU battle back to tie the score at 25-25 on a Hawkins free throw. Another score from the Thunderbird forward and five quick points from Mandelko in the final 60 seconds then gave Southern Utah a 33-29 edge heading into the break.
The Wildcats’ Desiree Ramos led all scorers with nine first half points, while Funk recorded eight for SUU and Hawkins chipped in another seven. The Thunderbirds held a 24-18 advantage on the boards to start the game, but shot just 34.4 percent from the floor to Weber State’s 40 percent.
Southern Utah continued to build momentum in the second half as it opened the period on a 12-2 run to push its advantage to 14. Mandelko started the streak with a three, then finished it with a layup that made the score 45-31.
After another basket from Ramos, SUU was at it again running off nine-straight points to extend the margin to 21 as Moreland completed a three-point play to make the count 54-33 with just under 12 minutes left to play.
Moreland would be a big contributor on offense for the Thunderbirds down the stretch as junior forward put up 10 second half points to help SUU cruise to the 74-61 victory.
Hawkins had an efficient night on offense, going 5-7 from the field for the T-Birds as well as 4-4 from the foul line. Mandelko did her damage from the outside where she was 2-4 from three-point territory. Ramos would be the only Wildcat to score in the double-figures, finishing the game with 11 points.
SUU controlled the glass with 44 rebounds to Weber State’s 31 and scored 42 of its points in the paint. The Thunderbirds held a slight shooting edge with a mark of 41.3 percent to Weber’s 40.7 and turned the ball over 25 times while forcing the Wildcats into 26 takeaways.
Southern Utah is back at home for its next two games as Montana State and the University of Montana are scheduled to make their first Big Sky trips to Cedar City. SUU will square off against the Bobcats this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Centrum Arena before meeting up with the Grizzlies on the following Monday at that same time. Live coverage of the games will be available on www.suutbirds.com.
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
Big Sky Conference Tournament