Southern Utah drops season opener to Eastern Washington

On a night where they hoisted up the 2022-23 Western Athletic Conference Championship banner, the Southern Utah University women’s basketball team lost its season opener to Eastern Washington University 86-77.

First quarter
Junior guard Jaleesa Lawrence came out firing, scoring 10 points for the Eagles. Megan Smith led the Thunderbirds in scoring for this quarter with eight points. EWU led 22-16 at time’s end.

Second quarter
EWU continued to stretch out the lead behind the strong rebounding performance. SUU was out rebounded 14-7 in the second quarter, allowing EWU to dominate down low. Freshman guard Charli Kay led SUU in scoring with seven points. EWU went into halftime with a 41-32 lead.

Third quarter
SUU played a lot better in the third quarter, led by the performance of freshman forward Ava Uhrich, who scored nine of the 27 points for SUU in this period. The defense also stepped up for SUU, holding EWU to only 35.7% from the field. The Thunderbirds also forced five turnovers and had a 59-55 lead heading into the final quarter.

Fourth quarter
EWU turned on the jets in the fourth quarter behind the phenomenal play of Lawrence and redshirt sophomore Aaliyah Alexander. Along with the performance of the star-studded guards, EWU had seven offensive rebounds in this quarter alone, giving them their first win of the season.

Key statistics
— EWU out rebounded SUU 42-32.
— Southern Utah had 23 bench points, led by Uhrich’s 16 to mark her first collegiate game.
— Alexander led Eastern Washington in scoring with 27 points, followed by Lawrence with 23.
— SUU had four blocks and eight steals as a team.

What’s next?
The Thunderbirds, now 0-1 on the season, will return to action Friday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at home against Western Kentucky University. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.

Author: Jack Paul
Photographer: Anden Garfield
Editor: Anden Garfield