Southern Utah Closes Out Big Sky Road Slate
EYE ON THE SKY
Southern Utah (16-7, 10-4) has won its last four outings to pull within half a game of Big Sky-leading North Dakota (16-8, 11-4) for the top-spot in the conference standings. The Thunderbirds will look to continue their climb as they finish up their road schedule for the year with visits to Eastern Washington (12-11, 8-6) and Portland State (6-17, 4-10) this week.
SUU held on for a 62-61 home win over the Eagles earlier this season when Hayley Hodgins’ jumper bounced off the rim as time expired. The rematch is scheduled to get underway this Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. (MT)
T-Bird forwards Lori Parkinson and Carli Moreland combined for 34 points and 14 rebounds to help Southern Utah hold off Portland State by a final score of 69-60 the last time the two teams met.
Coverage of SUU basketball is available online at www.suutbirds.com. Live video of the games will be broadcast on www.watchbigsky.com and the new Watch Big Sky downloadable app.
ABOUT EASTERN WASHINGTON
Eastern Washington sits two games behind Southern Utah in the conference standings and had won four straight before falling at NAU in its last outing. Junior guard Lexie Nelson ranks third in the Big Sky with 16.9 ppg but was held to 13 against the Thunderbirds. The EWU offense leads the Big Sky in 3-point shooting and ranks second overall in field goal percentage with marks of 38.4 and 43.6 percent. Nelson leads the BSC from behind the arc at 44.7 percnet. Wendy Schuller is in her 12th season as the head coach in Cheney where she holds a career record of 165-196. Eastern Washington won both meetings between the two schools last year, but SUU took the matchup on Jan. 25 to improve its lead in the all-time series to 7-4.
ABOUT PORTLAND STATE
Portland State has captured just one win since losing to SUU back in January, a 72-61 decision over Montana State. Sophomore guard Emily Easom leads the team with an average of 14.4 ppg and is shooting 35.7 percent from 3-point territory. She is one of four Vikings with double-digit scoring averages for the season. The PSU defense sits near the bottom of the league, allowing 79.7 ppg on 45.4 percent shooting. Head coach Sherri Murrell is in her sixth season in Portland where she holds a record of 111-83. Southern Utah has won all three games against Portland State since joing the Big Sky last season but still trails in the all-time series, 10-3.
T-BIRDS TAKE TWO ON THE ROAD
Southern Utah erased a nine-point second-half deficit with several keys plays in the closing minutes to come away with a Big Sky road win at Idaho State last Thursday. The Thunderbird defense held ISU to just three points over the final five minutes of the game while getting a pair of 3-pointers from junior guard Hailey Mandelko over that same stretch to come out on top, 70-66.
The Thunderbirds followed up with an 80-64 win at Weber State to pull within a half-game of North Dakota (11-4) for the top-spot in the Big Sky standings. SUU 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.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE SPELLS TROUBLE
DOUBLE-DOUBLE SPELLS TROUBLE
The Thunderbirds are a perfect 10-0 this year when at least one player turns in double-digit totals in both scoring and rebounding. Lori Parkinson has six double-doubles so far while Carli Moreland holds five. The pair both hit mark in SUU’s win at Texas A&M CC.
PARKINSON PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah forward Lori Parkinson was named the Big Sky Player of the Week after her outstanding performance against Sacramento State. The sophomore was the first Thunderbird to receive recognition this season and earned the award for the first time in her career. Parkinson scored a career-high 22 points as Southern Utah knocked off the Hornets by a final score of 93-74. She also grabbed 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and came up with four momentum-changing blocks.
Sophomore forward Lori Parkinson ranks third in the Big Sky with a 53.1 percent field goal percentage. That number is the 44th-highest shooting mark in the nation. If she can keep it up she is on pace to rank among the top-five single season performances in SUU history.
MADNESS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah senior Carli Moreland was named the Big Sky Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Dec. 23. The Broomfield, Colo. native averaged 19.5 points a game along 10.0 rebounds in a pair of Thunderbird victories. Moreland posted a double-double as SUU ran away from Arizona Christian before posting a career-high 25 points in the team’s win at Northern Colorado.
Carli Moreland has cracked the SUU record books in two career categories as she ranks sixth all-time in rebounds (700) 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 85.6 percent is the best in program history. She is also climbing in assists (283) where she sits at fourth all-time. Moreland (928) also needs just 50 points to reach the top-ten career scoring totals in T-Bird history before the end of the season.