The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team is looking to keep the momentum going after a dominant 90-67 win against Northern Arizona University on Monday, Feb. 21.
Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a rematch against the University of Montana Grizzlies on Thursday, Feb. 24 in Missoula.
The T-Birds have been having a season to remember in conference play with one of their best starts in program history at 12-5. SUU has been able to score in many different ways on the court through transition plays and key rebounding from many players.
SUU rebounded from a loss at Montana State University with a win over NAU. The T-birds showed they are one of the better shooting teams in the Big Sky, shooting 52% against the Lumberjacks.
Junior guard Natalia Otkhmezuri scored a career high 25 points including six three-pointers. Sophomore guard Sam Johnston joined in on the fun, finishing with 17 points and tying her career-high five three-pointers. Center Lizzy Williamson contributed 12 points and the redshirt sophomore brought down eight rebounds for the SUU.
Looking at the opponent
The Grizz are led by junior forward Carmen Gfeller who is averaging 13.4 points per game. Gfeller is among one of the most dangerous scorers in the conference, ranking No. 9 in the Big Sky. Montana comes into this matchup ranked No. 4 in the Big Sky Conference standings and has been keeping up with the top three teams all season.
Montana has been dominant at home throughout the season with only three home losses to Gonzaga University, Utah Valley University and Idaho State University — their only conference loss at home.
The Grizzlies lost their last game in a close matchup at the University of Idaho, 70-69. Gfeller collected her sixth double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and collecting 10 rebounds. Senior forward Abby Anderson scored 16 points and senior guard Sophia Stiles contributed 14 points in the losing effort.
Last time out
The last time these two teams met was Monday, Feb. 7 in the America First Event Center. SUU fell 69-64 to the Grizzlies.
A big key for SUU is to win the rebound battle. The Thunderbirds were out-rebounded 46-36 and this ended up being a major decision in the outcome of the contest. The scoring for the Thunderbirds was led by sophomore guard Dayla Ballena with 18 points.
The rematch will take place on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in Missoula, Montana. The game can be live-streamed on ESPN+.
Article by: Anthony Colasuono
Photo Courtesy of SUU Athletics