The Southern Utah University Thunderbirds will continue Western Athletic Conference play on the road against the Grand Canyon University Antelopes. Their following game will be at home against the Tarleton State University Texans.
Last time out
Southern Utah faced the Utah Tech University Trailblazers and came out on top 62-51. The victory handed Utah Tech their first home loss of the season and moved the Thunderbirds to 2-0 against the Trailblazers this year. SUU shot 33.8% from the field and made 22.2% of their three-point attempts.
On the other hand, the Thunderbirds’ defense held Utah Tech to 6.9% shooting from beyond the arc and 31.3% from the field. Southern Utah was able to force nine turnovers and block six of the Trailblazers’ shot attempts. Three of those blocks came from senior guard Samantha Johnston, who also dished out four assists, hauled in eight rebounds and added six points offensively for head coach Tracy Sanders.
SUU’s centers made their presence known in the paint. Junior center Lizzy Williamson hauled in 20 rebounds, scored 18 points and eliminated two shot attempts by Utah Tech. Megan Jensen has continued to impress during WAC play. The senior center came away with eight rebounds, one block and 18 points.
As the Thunderbirds entered the fourth quarter, they trailed Utah Tech but went on a 17-2 run to complete a comeback win. The win moved Southern Utah to No. 2 in the WAC standings.
Grand Canyon Antelopes
The Antelopes enter the matchup with a 14-5 overall record and 6-2 record in WAC play. Grand Canyon is fresh off a 78-70 loss from California Baptist University. On the season, GCU has scored 73.9 points per game and held their opponents to 60.3. They are ranked No. 3 in the WAC standings, right behind SUU.
Offensively, the Antelopes have scored efficiently. They have shot 31.3% on three-point attempts and 43.5% from the field. Grand Canyon has three players who average double figures in the points category. Sophomore guard Nadia Evans has led the way with 11.2 points per game, and her 3.1 assists per game is a team high. Evans has shot 36.8% on field goal attempts and 34.1% from three-point territory.
Junior forwards Tiarra Brown and Olivia Lane are both averaging 10.3 points per game. Lane is second on the team in rebounding with 5.3 per game; first is graduate guard Evan Zars’ 7.2. Brown’s two steals per game is second only to sophomore guard Aaliya Collins’ 2.6.
Defensively, Grand Canyon has forced 22.5 turnovers per game. This greedy play averaged them 13.3 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.
Tarleton State has not played their best this year and finds themselves No. 11 in the WAC standings. The Texans have a 7-11 overall record and only one win in seven WAC games. Their one conference win came against the University of Texas Rio Grande on Jan. 11.
On the season, Tarleton State has averaged 64.1 points per game and allowed 66.6 points per game. The Texans have shot 29.2% from three-point territory and 38.8% in total. The charge has been led by junior guard Teresa Da Silva. Per game, she averages a team-high 14.6 points per game, three assists per game and nearly four rebounds. Da Silva is the only Texan to average double-figure points.
Defense has been steady for Tarleton State. As a team, the Texans are averaging 8.4 steals and almost three blocks per game. Leading the way in steals is senior guard Mayra Caicedo with 1.8 per game. Sophomore guard Elise Turrabiates and Da Silva are averaging a team-high 0.6 blocks per game. Turrabiates is second on the team in steals per game with 1.6, followed by Da Silva’s 1.3.
The Texans will battle Utah Tech in St. George on Wednesday, Jan. 26, before making the trek to Cedar City.
Southern Utah will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, to face the Antelopes at 7 p.m. MST. Their following game will be at home against Tarleton State on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. MST. Both games can be streamed on ESPN+.
Article by: Chevy Blackburn
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