Senior forward Tayler Anderson
SUU Strategic Communications

SUU Set for Single Game at Northern Colorado

February 20, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Southern Utah (12-13, 6-9 BSC) is set to return to the road and begin a three-game stretch that will see the Thunderbirds finish up their away contests for the year. SUU visits Northern Colorado (15-9, 12-3 BSC) Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. in its only outing, marking the first time it has had just a single game on its schedule for the week since starting conference play. The Bears have climbed to second-place in the Big Sky standings with an eight-game winning streak that dates back to a 6954 win over Northern Arizona on  Jan. 24, and are undefeated at home this season. Coverage of this week’s game can be found on

Last week the Bears beat NAU on the road then picked up an 81-73 win at Sacramento State. Northern Colorado will also face North Dakota this week, making the trip to Grand Forks on Thursday, before returning home to host SUU. The Bears lead the Big Sky in scoring defense, allowing just 54.5 ppg and are just as productive on the offensive end where they lead the conference with a 41.1 field goal percentage. D’shara Strange ranks among the BSC leaders with 13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.3 spg. Head coach Jaime White is an SUU alum and in her seventh season at NC where she holds a record of 97-109. Saturday’s matchup will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Thunderbirds fell by a score of 92-61 in Greeley during the 1979 season.

With only five games remaining in the regular season, Southern Utah is tied for the seventh spot in the Big Sky standings with a conference record of 5-9. The top seven teams advance to the postseason tournament in March. Currently, Northern Arizona also sits at 5-9 and holds a tiebreaker over SUU after winning both of their meetings this year. Portland State (5-10) and North Dakota (5-11) are also still in contention for the final tournament berth. The Thunderbirds play three of their last five on the road with a trip to league-leading Montana (19-6, 13-3 BSC) and a pair of contests against second place Northern Colorado.

The momentum went back-and-forth in the matchup between Southern Utah and Eastern Washington, as both teams were unable to hold on to the advantage in a game that saw four ties and four lead changes. The Thunderbirds overcame an early 10-point deficit to take the lead at halftime, then built a nine-point advantage of their own in the second half before eventually allowing the Eagles to come back and pull away for a 78-70 win. The T-Birds had a strong night on the glass, outrebounding their opponents 52-35. Andrea Jones finished 4-6 from behind the arc for 20 points while Kimie Hawkins came up one rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. Lexie Nelson led all scorers with 22 points in the contest and Laura Hughes chipped in another 20 for the Eagles.


Hailey Mandelko scored a game-high 22 points while matching her career mark with six three-pointers to lead Southern Utah past visiting Portland State by a final score of 83-60. The Thunderbirds built a 22-point lead at halftime after connecting on 8-12 shots from the outside to start the game, then added to the margin down the stretch for their largest win of the year in Big Sky play. Along with Mandelko’s 22 points, Southern Utah got 14 from Andrea Jones, who finished a perfect 5-5 from the field and 3-3 from the three-point line, and 13 from Carli Moreland. Courtney VanBrocklin scored 20 for the Vikings and Allison Greene added another 14.

The Thunderbirds have proved themselves to be a strong rebounding team and are currently averaging 44.7 boards a game, the best mark in the Big Sky. SUU also holds a +7.9 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which ranks 22nd in the nation. Junior forward Carli Moreland leads the T-Birds on the glass with an average of 6.6 rpg.


Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko is shooting 37.2 percent from behind the arc this season, a mark that puts her in the top ten shooters in the Big Sky and among the top 52 players in the nation. She hit six threes at SJSU early in the year and knocked down five against NAU. Mandelko’s hot shooting helped her to be named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Dec. 10.

The T-Bird offense has been putting up big numbers this season, twice eclipsing the 90-point mark and averaging over 70 points a game. That number puts SUU in the top 40 among the nation’s scoring offenses and second in the Big Sky. Southern Utah also ranks 68th in the NCAA with an average of 14.6 assists.


Southern Utah University added new assistant coach Jill Mahoney during this past offseason. Mahoney came to SUU from Western State College of Colorado where she helped the Mountaineers to a top four finish in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.