Senior Guard Maylinn Smith
Deb Hill

Thunderbirds Finish Home Stand Against Eastern Washington

January 24, 2014
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Coming off its 69-60 victory over Portland State on Thursday, Southern Utah (10-6, 4-3) will look to pick up back-to-back wins in Big Sky Conference play for the first time this year when it hosts Eastern Washington (8-8, 4-3) this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

The Thunderbirds have developed a pattern during the first month of conference play, winning their first game of the week each time before falling in the second. The Eagles improved to 4-3 in the Big Sky with a pair of wins over Northern Arizona and Sacramento state last week and are currently tied with SUU for the third-best record in the BSC. The Eagles’ offense leads the league with a 44.0 percent 3-point field goal percentage and an overall shooting mark of 40.1 percent.

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After a difficult start to the season the preseason favorite has won eight of its last 11 and is tied with SUU in the conference standings. Junior guard Lexie Nelson ranks third in the Big Sky with 17.8 ppg while center Laura Hughes sits in fifth place with 14.9 ppg. The EWU offense leads the Big Sky in both 3-point and overall field goal percentage with marks of 40.1 and 44.0 percent. Nelson ranks second from behind the arc at 47.2 percent while Hughes’ 58.3 percent field goal percentage is the best in the Big Sky.Wendy Schuller is in her 12th season as the head coach in Cheney where she holds a career record of 161-193. Eastern Washington won both meetings between the two schools last year, but Southern Utah holds a 6-4 edge all-time.

Thunderbird forwards Lori Parkinson and Carli Moreland combined for 34 points and 14 rebounds to lead Southern Utah past visiting Portland State  by a final score of 69-60 on Thursday. SUU scored a total of 48 points in the paint to improve to 5-1 at home this season. The T-Birds finished shooting 42.6 percent from the field but had just one 3-pointer on the night. SUU outscored Portland State in the paint by a total of 48-14. The visitors posted a 42-35 rebounding advantage but committed 22 turnovers to the Thunderbirds’ 11. Parkinson and Moreland each scored 17 points for SUU with the latter also collecting 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.