Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Feb. 4 – Southern Utah (10-11) came back in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime in its game at Northern Arizona (5-15) Monday night, but it was the Lumberjacks who would eventually come out on top as they scored the final four points of the contest to claim a 76-74 win. The result gives both teams a record of 4-7 in the Big Sky, with NAU holding the tiebreaker after taking both games against the T-Birds this season.
Southern Utah fell behind early after the Lumberjacks got a pair of three-point field goals from Tyler Stephens-Jenkins to go up 15-8 four minutes in. Marquelle Funk and Hailey Mandelko came back with two threes of their own to help SUU rally to tie the score at 27-27.
The Thunderbirds continued to score from behind the arc to close out the half as Andrea Jones and Mandelko added two more threes to put SUU up 40-35 at the half.
Mandelko led the way for the T-Birds in the opening period, scoring nine points, all of which came from the three-point line. As a team Southern Utah shot 42.9 percent from the outside to start the game and 46.9 percent overall.
The Lumberjacks came out of the break with a quick 11-0 run to go up 46-40. Stephens-Jenkins, Amanda Frost and Amy Patton each connected from behind the arc during the stretch to give their team a six-point lead. SUU finally broke up the run with a transition layup for Marquelle Funk, three minutes into the period.
Carli Moreland would then go to work inside for a couple of scores to bring SUU back and help the T-Birds retake the lead at 51-50. The Lumberjacks pulled ahead again however as a 13-5 run gave the home team a 63-56 advantage with 6:33 left to play.
The Thunderbirds chipped away at the deficit in the closing minutes until a Kimie Hawkins layup brought them within one with 1:24 remaining. After a big stop from the SUU defense, the senior forward took the ball inside again and earned a trip to the line where she tied the score at 69-69, sending the game into overtime.
The two sides traded scores in the extra period until Mandelko connected on her fifth three-pointer of the night to give SUU a 74-72 edge with 1:44 left. Patton tied the game for the ‘Jacks at the line in the final minute then found teammate Frost inside for a basket and the lead with just four seconds on the clock. Jones was able to take the ball the length of the court after a Southern Utah timeout but her shot from the outside was just off the mark and Northern Arizona held on for the 76-74 win.
All five starters for Lumberjacks scored in the double-figures as Patton led the way with 19 and Aubrey Davis recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. SUU had four players go for ten or more as Hawkins scored 17, Mandelko added 15, Jones dropped in 14 and Funk finished with 10 points. Moreland came up just one rebound shy of her career record after grabbing 16 boards in the contest.
Northern Arizona shot nearly 50 percent from the floor in the game and went 8-17 from beyond the arc. Southern Utah shot just under 40 percent but held a 45-30 advantage on the glass and a 21-4 margin on second chance points. SUU also got 25 points from its bench while holding the NAU reserves scoreless.
The Thunderbirds return home this week for meetings with in-state rival Weber State and defending Big Sky champion Idaho State. The Wildcats will be in town this Thursday with tip off set for 7:00 p.m. at the Centrum Arena. Coverage of the game is available at 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