2015 Big Sky Champions
T-Birds Continue Opening Road Trip in Texas
Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
Release: 11/12/2013
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Fresh off a win at Boise State in its season opener, Southern Utah heads to the Lone Star State this week for matchups with Texas A&M Corpus Chisti and Houston Baptist. The T-Birds and Islanders will meet on the court for the first time ever this Thursday at 6:00 p.m. followed by a matchup with HBU on Saturday at 5:30. Coverage of SUU basketball, along with links for live stats and video, can be found on www.suutbirds.com.

Texas A&M CC started the year with a win and a loss at the Emerald Beach Islander’s Classic last week, opening with a 66-60 overtime victory over Western Illinois before falling to Fairfield by a score of 58-55 in the championship game. Senior guard Jasmine Shaw is leading the Islanders with an average of 21.0 ppg while Shola Adebayo shot over 44 percent from the 3-point line in the team’s first two contests. Royce Chadwick was named head coach prior to the 2012-13 season, during which he led the Islanders to a record of 4-25. This week’s matchup will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Houston Baptist had four players score in double figures as it opened the season with a 72-60 win over UT Arlington last week. Sophomore guard Rachel Arthur led the way with 17 points while the team’s returning leading-scorer, Shanice Steenholdt, added 10 points and seven rebounds. Donna Finnie took over as the head coach at HBU during this past offseason. The Thunderbirds claimed a 79-58 win at home last season in their first ever matchup against the Huskies. Houston Baptist will face Texas Southern on Thursday before hosting SUU on Saturday.

Junior guard Desiree Jackson hit 11 free throws on her way to 17 points to lead Southern Utah past Boise State by a final score of 90-86 last Friday night. Senior forward Carli Moreland added a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Thunderbirds come out on top in their regular season opener on the road. As a team SUU had 35 free throws.

The Thunderbirds led the Big Sky in rebounding last season, averaging 43.9 boards a game. SUU also held a +5.8 rebounding margin advantage over its opponents, which ranked 41st nationally. Carli Moreland was the teams top rebounder, pulling down 6.3 rpg.

Junior guard Hailey Mandelko shot 36.4 percent from behind the arc last season, a mark that put her in the top ten shooters in the Big Sky and among the top 60 players in the nation. She hit six threes at SJSU early in the year and knocked down five against NAU.

The T-Bird offense put up big numbers last season, twice eclipsing the 90-point mark and averaging just over 70 points a game. That number put SUU in the top 32 among the nation’s scoring offenses during the regular season and second in the Big Sky. Southern Utah also ranked 68th in the NCAA shooting 32.9 percent from three.

Southern Utah guard Hailey Mandelko was named among the student-athletes to receive Big Sky honorable mention recognition followoing the 2012-13 season. As a sophomore, she led SUU during the regular season by scoring 11.9 points a game. Mandelko ranked among the top-shooters in the country, averaging 2.21 3-point field goals a game while hitting 36.0 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc. She also recorded 50 assists, 40 steals and 83 rebounds for the T-Birds while shooting over 78 percent at the foul line. Mandelko was twice named the Big Sky Player of the Week.

Southern Utah’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both competed at the Big Sky Conference Tournament in the school’s first season as a league member. The last imes the two programs made a trip to the postseason in the same year before then came back in 2007-08 when the Thunderbirds were in the Summit League.

After being picked to finish last in the Big Sky preseason poll last season, Southern Utah came in sixth in this year’s conference coaches poll. Eastern Washington was selected atop the poll while receiving six first place votes, followed by Montana (3) and Northern Colorado (2). Montana State and Idaho State came in just ahead of SUU while Porland State and North Dakota were also picked to the make it to the postseason tournament.
Mon. Mar. 7
vs. Sacramento State
(L) 89 -102
Fri. Mar. 4
vs. Portland State
(W) 76 -64
Wed. Mar. 2
vs. Sacramento State
(L) 72 -82
Sat. Feb. 27
vs. Northern Arizona
(W) 73 -68
Sat. Feb. 20
@ Idaho State
(L) 47 -64
Thu. Feb. 18
@ Weber State
(L) 56 -75
Sat. Feb. 13
vs. Montana State
(L) 66 -87
Thu. Feb. 11
vs. Montana
(L) 50 -81
Sat. Feb. 6
@ Eastern Washington
(L) 53 -64
Thu. Feb. 4
@ Idaho
(L) 48 -93
Sat. Jan. 30
vs. Weber State
(L) 51 -69
Thu. Jan. 28
vs. Idaho State
(L) 67 -71
Sat. Jan. 23
@ North Dakota
(L) 56 -68
Thu. Jan. 21
@ Northern Colorado
(L) 44 -64
Sat. Jan. 16
vs. Idaho
(L) 51 -62