Women’s basketball to enter Big Sky Tournament as No. 3 seed

Southern Utah University women’s basketball will enter the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Boise, Idaho as the No. 3 seed after finishing with a 14-6 conference record. Being a top-5 seed, Head Coach Tracy Sanders and her team earn a first-round bye for the second season in a row. 

In conclusion of the regular season, the Big Sky Conference released their All-Conference teams that included three Thunderbirds. Forward Darri Dotson was named to Third Team All-Conference while guards Cherita Daugherty and Dayla Ballena were named as honorable mentions. 

Dotson was a key player for Southern Utah over the course of her final season. The senior averaged 10.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while also hitting 1,000 career points as a Thunderbird. 

Daugherty and Ballena averaged 10.4 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. The two up-tempo guards played a big part in SUU’s offense being the second-highest scoring team in the Big Sky. 

First Opponent

In their first matchup of the tournament, Southern Utah will square off against the University of Idaho on Tuesday, March 8 at 8 p.m. The Vandals are led by Beyonce Bea who was named a unanimous First-Team All Big Sky selection for the second consecutive season. The prolific forward averaged over 15 points and eight rebounds per game this season. 

Idaho finished the regular season as the No. 6 seed. Their first game of the tournament was a 75-52 win against Portland State University – who did not win a single Big Sky matchup all season. 

The Thunderbirds and Vandals split the two matchups in the regular season with Southern Utah winning the first matchup 87-65 in Cedar City on Dec. 4. The teams would meet again in Moscow, Idaho on Feb. 3 where the Vandals won 82-63. 

If Southern Utah can beat Idaho and advance to the semifinals, they will play the winner of the No. 2 Montana State University and No. 10 Weber State University matchup. 

All games will be played at the Idaho Central Arena and can be streamed on ESPN+.

Story by: Christian Esparza

Photos Courtesy of SUU Athletics