SUU women’s basketball travels to Montana State for important conference matchup

The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team is looking to keep things in the win column after an impressive 77-53 routing of the University of Northern Colorado. Next up on the schedule: a rematch against the Big Sky Conference’s No. 3 team, Montana State University, on Saturday, Feb. 19. 

A look at the Thunderbirds

SUU’s key to victory this season has been the ability to score in a variety of ways. Guards Cherita Daugherty and Dayla Ballena, as well as forward Darri Dotson, average over 10 points a game. Dotson also adds 8.5 rebounds per contest. 

Center Lizzy Williamson is enjoying a breakout year as a redshirt sophomore as she is scoring nine points and grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game. Dotson and Williamson are fourth and fifth in the conference respectively in rebounding.  

The team also features a pair of sharpshooters from three with Natalia Otkhmezuri shooting 40% from deep and Sam Johnston shooting 35%. The numbers show why the Thunderbirds are the No. 3 seed in the conference and boast the No. 1 offense with 71.8 points per game. 

A look at the opponent

Montana State, led by guard Darian White, have been incredible at home on the year, boasting a 12-2 record at home. Their only home losses have come against No. 20 ranked Brigham Young University, and Big Sky opponent Eastern Washington University. 

White is the second-leading scorer in the Big Sky, averaging 15.9 points per game. Forward Kola Bad Bear is their only other player to average double digit points at 10.4. 

MSU is coming off a 76-69 loss to Eastern Washington on Thursday, Feb. 17. The loss shook up the Big Sky standings as it dropped the Bobcats from No.1 to No. 3 in the conference. 

Last matchup

The last time these two teams met was Thursday, Feb. 10 in the America First Event Center and the T-Birds were able to scrape out a 70-60 overtime win.

A big key for SUU in the first matchup was holding the Bobcats leading scorer, Darian White, to just eight points and 1-13 from the field. However, the T-Birds also shot an abysmal 3-21 from three with all three makes coming in the second half. 

Luckily, strong late-game performances from guards Daugherty and Ballena helped secure the win in the overtime period. 

Game details

The rematch will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. in Bozeman, Montana. The game can be live-streamed on ESPN+. 

Article by: Parker Haynie

Photo courtesy of SUU Athletic Department