Thunderbird Season Ends at Big Sky Championship Tournament
RENO, Nev. - For the SUU women’s basketball team, the season came to a close on Monday as they fell to the Idaho Vandals 83-68 at the Reno Events Center in the opening round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
“I’m really proud of how hard we fought,” SUU head coach Chris Boettcher said. “All season that’s something I could say about this team. They never gave up. They fought like crazy, and we’re so close to where we need to be to turn things around. I look forward to the future, but Idaho was just too good from the three-point line.”
Senior Jessica Richardson was just one point off her career high, finishing the game with 24 points. Freshman Rebecca Cardenas had a huge stat line for the Thunderbirds, finishing the contest with 14 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Sophomore Bre Reid poured in 16 points to add to SUU’s scoring effort.
Richardson totaled 20 points in the first 20 minutes.
“My teammates were just great at getting me the ball and getting me open off screens,” Richardson said.
Coach Boettcher said Richardson will be missed both on the court—but off the hardwood as well.
“I’m in debt to Jess for the unbelievable player and person she is,” Boettcher said. “She’s a warrior and we’re really going to miss her, not only as a player, but in the locker room.”
The Vandals hit 12 threes on Monday, compared to SUU’s one. Mikayla Ferenz scored 25 points to lead the Vandals, with Brooke Riley and Karlee Wilson both putting in 18 points.
The start of the contest was not the best for the Thunderbirds, as they fell behind 13 points in the opening quarter. However, they were able to scrap their way back into it by the end of the opening period to only trail 24-20.
The Thunderbirds kept the momentum going in the second quarter, winning that period 16-13 to only trail by one going into the halftime break.
The Vandals started heading up again in the third quarter, but the Thunderbirds were able to stay with them and only trailed by five heading into the final 10 minutes.
That’s when the Vandals were able to come alive, outscoring the T-Birds 25-15 in the final period to close the game out with a 83-68 victory.
“I know that our team gave it our all, and in the end we just traded two for threes and that's rough,” Richardson said. “It’s hard to beat a team when they’re hitting three’s and all your hitting are two’s.”
The Thunderbirds will move forward without seniors Richardson and Jamie Smith, as the two seniors both put on their Thunderbird jersey for the final time on Monday.
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