SUU IN THE TREASURE STATE
Southern Utah (12-6, 6-3) will look to extend its Big Sky-leading three-game winning streak when it visits the University of Montana (11-6, 5-3) this Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff. SUU is coming off a 87-81 comeback win at Montana State that moved the T-Birds into the second spot in the conference standings. Montana has won its last two and sits just behind Southern Utah in the standings.
The Griz boast the toughest defense in the Sky, allowing only 60.5 ppg on 36.7 percent shooting. Montana has won its first four Big Sky games at home this season and has never lost to Southern Utah. UM is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, as Kellie Cole (.474) and Jordan Sullivan (.462) rank one and two in the BSC to help the Grizzlies shoot .367 overall.
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Montana is tied for third place in the conference standings after improving to 5-3 with wins over Weber State and Idaho State at home last week. Junior guard Kellie Cole leads the Big Sky in 3-point shooting at 47.4 percent and is the Grizzlies top-scorer with 14.1 ppg. Montana ranks second in the BSC as a team from beyond the arc at 36.7 percent. The UM defense is among the nation’s top-50 teams in points allowed, surrendering just 60.5 ppg. Robin Selvig is in his 36th season as the head coach at his alma mater where he holds over 800 career wins. The Thunderbirds are still looking for their first program victory against the Griz after dropping the first eight meetings, including the two last season.
T-BIRDS TAKE COMEBACK WIN AT MSU
Southern Utah scored 49 second half points to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and rally for an 87-81 win at Montana State Thursday night. Junior guard Hailey Mandelko posted a season-high 22 points.
After hitting seven threes in the first 20 minutes, the MSU offense was held just 1-5 shooting from the outside in the second half while SUU closed out the game hitting four of their last nine attempts from beyond the arc. Carli Moreland recorded her team-leading fifth double-double with 19 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Andrea Jones turned in 15 points for her best scoring performance of the year so far.
Carli Moreland has cracked the SUU record books in two career categories as she ranks seventh in rebounds (673) and fifth in blocked shots (92). The senior center surpassed her former teammate Tayler Anderson (633) in rebounding this year and needs 26 blocks to equal Thunderbird great Cherri Frandsen (118). Senior guard Andrea Jones will look to distance herself as Southern Utah’s best free throw shooter as her current mark of 85.4 percent is the best in program history. She is also climbing in assists (261) where she sits at seventh all-time after also passing Anderson (247) earlier this year.