Desiree Jackson hit two threes to score a season-high 15 points in the win
SUU Strategic Communications

SUU Knocks Off Big Sky Leading Bears, 73-57

February 23, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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GREELEY, Colo., Feb. 23 – Southern Utah (13-13, 7-9) went 7-11 from beyond the arc to pull away for a 73-57 win at Northern Colorado (16-10, 13-4 BSC) on Saturday. Sophomore guard Hailey Mandelko scored 20 points to help the Thunderbirds take an important road win over the Bears, who came into the contest undefeated at home and tied with Montana atop the Big Sky Conference standings.

The T-Birds rallied from an early 17-8 deficit halfway through the opening period to take a 31-23 advantage at the break. The SUU defense held the Bears scoreless over the last 5:51 of the half while scoring 13 unanswered as part of a larger 23-6 run.

Sophomore guards Marquelle Funk and Desiree Jackson got things going from the outside for SUU, combining to go a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc over the first 20 minutes. Jackson led the way for the T-Birds with eight points at the break while Lauren Oosdyke and D’shara Strange each had eight for Northern Colorado.

The shutout continued after halftime as SUU scored the first five points of the second period to extend the advantage to 36-23. Mandelko connected on another three and Jackson hit two at the foul line to push lead to a game-high 13 points. The Thunderbirds kept the pressure on from there, never allowing the Bears to get the deficit back down into single figures.

The margin eventually grew to 20 down the stretch as Mandelko dropped in a pair free throws to make the score 65-45 with five minutes remaining. She then teamed up with Jackson and Andrea Jones to add six more from the charity stripe in the closing moments and deliver the 73-57 win for the Thunderbirds.

Southern Utah made only 18 field goals for the afternoon, but posted a 40 percent shooting percentage and matched its season-high by converting on 30-36 attempts at the foul line. Northern Colorado became just the eighth Thunderbird opponent this year to capture the battle on the boards, 49-35, but trailed SUU in bench scoring, 39-5. The T-Birds also committed just 14 turnovers in the game, their best mark in Big Sky play.

Jackson finished with a season-high 15 points on 6-8 shooting while also dishing out four assists. Carli Moreland chipped in another 15 for the Thunderbirds and senior Tayler Anderson led all players with nine rebounds. Strange was the only Bear to score in the double-figures, finishing the game with 24 points and eight rebounds.

The win puts Southern Utah back in sole possession of seventh place in the conference standings and the final spot in the Big Sky Tournament with four games left in the regular season. The Thunderbirds will now prepare to wrap up their road slate with a trip to the state of Montana. SUU takes on the top-ranked Grizzlies next Thursday at 7:00 p.m., then travels to Bozeman to face the Bobcats on Monday, March 4 in another 7 o’clock contest. Coverage of the games is available on