Thunderbirds Fall to Red Hot Bobcats


CEDAR CITY, Utah – The Southern Utah women’s basketball team took just their third home loss of the season Wednesday night 65-81 at the hands of the Montana State Bobcats. The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 10-9 in Big Sky play and officially locked them into being the sixth seed in the Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament next week in Boise, Idaho.

Rebecca Cardenas led the team in scoring with 14 points and jumped assistant coach Hailey Mandelko on the career scoring list to become the fifth-highest scorer in Southern Utah history with 1,232 points.

Harley Hansen and Jessica Chatman both finished in double-digits as Hansen scored 12 points and Chatman scored 11. Cardenas, Chatman, and Darri Frandsen all pulled down five rebounds.

The Thunderbirds were able to hang around with the Bobcats in the first half, never letting them lead by more than six points and even leading for over a quarter of the time. They took their first lead of the game on a three-pointer from Cardenas with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter, but quickly found themselves down by six by the second.

With 8:58 left in the half, Hansen and Chatman hit back-to-back threes to tie the game at 22-22. Shalyn Fano put the Thunderbirds on top for the second time with a layup and they were able to hold onto that lead for almost the rest of the half. Their biggest lead of the game came at the end of a 7-2 run when Hansen put them up by five with a layup of her own.

The Bobcats came all the way back by halftime and even went into the break with a 33-31 lead after hitting a buzzer beating layup.

After shooting just 35.3 percent in the second quarter, the Bobcats flipped a switch when they came out of the locker room and shot an eye-popping 75 percent from the field in the second half. They had pushed their lead to double-digits by the midway point of the third quarter and didn’t take their foot of the gas.

Their biggest lead of the game came with 3:29 remaining in the game when a three-pointer made it 78-57. The Thunderbirds were able to cut the lead down to 16 before the game came to a close, losing 81-65.

The Thunderbirds will host Montana on Friday March 6 for Senior Night and their final game of the regular season.

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Story and photo courtesy of SUU Athletics