The Thunderbirds have turned their performance around the last couple of weeks and have done so by winning three out of their last four games. During that span, the Thunderbirds’ only loss was to No. 8 University of Utah. Now bolstering a 6-7 overall record and 2-0 conference record, SUU sits No. 3 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Next up on the schedule are the Seattle University Redhawks. Last time out, the Redhawks lost to the California Baptist University Lancers 74-62.
A look at the Redhawks
The Seattle University Redhawks enter the game with a 1-12 record, which ranks them No. 6 in the WAC standings. Offensively, they are shooting 36% from the field and 31.7% from beyond the arc. Seattle University is averaging 58.5 points per game compared to the Thunderbirds’ 67.7.
Leading the way for head coach Suzy Barcomb scoring is junior Peyton Howard, who racks up an average of 10.8 points per game. Howard also leads the team in rebounds, steals and assists as the do-it-all guard in the Redhawks’ starting five. She is the only member of the team averaging double-digit points.
Sophomore guard Julianna Walker is Seattle’s sharpshooter, averaging 41.9% from three-point land in 62 attempts. Walker’s efficiency from beyond the arc has bolstered her points per game average to 7.2.
The Redhawks average over 20 turnovers per game, which has resulted in 21.7 points per game for their opponents and will help SUU hold onto the ball. Crashing the glass will be important for Seattle because they average 34.5 rebounds per game, nearly nine less than the Thunderbirds.
SUU so far
While it has been an uphill battle this year for the Thunderbirds, the team is looking a lot better entering conference play. Head coach Tracy Sanders is missing senior guard Tomekia Whitman, who last played against Northern Arizona University on Dec. 3. Others have had to step up, and that is what the team has done.
Graduate guard Cherita Daugherty is one of four Thunderbirds averaging double-digit points, leading the way with 14.2 points per game. Daugherty’s 1.2 steals per game is a team-high, and she also hauls in 5.1 rebounds and dishes out 3.4 assists per game.
Two juniors that are averaging 11 points per game for the Thunderbirds are center Lizzy Williamson and guard Daylani Ballena. Williamson is averaging 10.2 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks per game, which are both team-highs. Ballena has been lights out from three-point land, averaging 41.5% from beyond the arc and dishing out a team-high 4.3 assists per game.
Another center that has been playing exceptional is Megan Jensen. The senior is averaging 10.6 points per game while shooting a team-high 53.5% from the field. Her 6.5 rebounds per game are only second to Williamson.
As a team, the Thunderbirds have been improving their efficiency game-by-game. The Thunderbirds have improved to shooting 41.9% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc.. Averaging nearly 43 rebounds per game has placed the team No. 35 in the nation on the glass.
Limiting the number of turnovers will be crucial for the Thunderbirds, as they commit 6.7 more per game then Seattle with an average of 18.7.
The Thunderbirds have not played against Seattle University. SUU looks to make a statement against the struggling Redhawks on the road Saturday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m.
Article by: Chevy Blackburn
Photos by: SUU Athletics