Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
OGDEN, Utah, Feb. 15 – Southern Utah (16-7, 10-4) took an 80-64 win at Weber State (4-18, 0-13) on Saturday to pull within a half-game of North Dakota (11-4) for the top-spot in the Big Sky standings. The Thunderbirds shot 8-16 from behind the arc and had four players score in double figures to knock off the Wildcats for a fifth-straight time.
Scoring on both sides was even throughout the first ten minutes until Hailey Mandelko sank a 3-pointer to break up a 16-16 tie halfway through the opening period. That sparked a 9-0 scoring run for Southern Utah as Mandelko added three more from the foul line and Andrea Jones canned a triple to put the Thunderbirds out in front 25-16.
Weber State cut the margin back down to five with a layup by Elizabeth Mounier late in the half, but Mandelko answered with another three and Marquelle added another shot from the outside as SUU extended its lead to 39-24 in the closing moments. The Wildcats got back-to-back scores form Desiree Ramos and Jalen Carpenter to enter the locker room trailing by a count of 39-28.
Southern Utah shot 44.4 percent to start the game while hitting six first half threes and all nine of its attempt at the foul line. Weber State went 10-29 over the first 20 minutes but held a 21-17 rebounding edge over the T-Birds.
Points were hard to come by in the first few minutes after the break as SUU managed just one Carli Moreland free throw while the Wildcats were held to a single basket from Carpenter and the score sat at 40-30 at the 16-minute mark.
Mandelko got the Thunderbird offense going with her fourth 3-pointer of the night, but Ramos connected from the outside on the other end and WSU used a 14-5 run to pull back within five with 12:05 to play. Parkinson and Moreland took control from there as the duo combined to put up seven straight points and build a 58-46 advantage for Southern Utah.
Weber State narrowed the deficit to eight in the final minutes, but SUU closed the game scoring 10 of the last 12 points to come out ahead in the end, 80-64.
The Thunderbirds shot 46 percent as a team and totaled 16 assists on 23 field goals. Mandelko went 4-6 from 3-point range to lead SUU with 19 points. Jones chipped in another 13, Moreland added 14 and Lori Parkinson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.
The Wildcats kept the score closer than it could have been by grabbing 20 offensive rebounds and putting up 20 second chance points. WSU posted a 41-32 advantage on the glass but shot just 32.1 percent from the field. Ramos had career-night for the Wildcats, finishing with 30 points on eight field goals and 11 free throws.
Southern Utah is back on the road again for its next two with visits to Eastern Washington and Portland State. The T-Birds take on the Eagles next Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (MT) followed by a matchup with the Vikings on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Coverage of SUU basketball is available online at www.suutbirds.com.