Women’s basketball set to take on the Gauchos

The Southern Utah University women’s basketball team will head west to take on the University of California, Santa Barbara on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 3 p.m. MST. The game can be streamed through ESPN+.

The Thunderbirds will roll into this matchup with a 1-2 record and fresh off their first win on the season over the University of Alaska Fairbanks 72-58. The Gauchos, however, fell to 1-1 after they lost to Idaho State University 70-64.

UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos are coming off a season where they finished 21-12 and lost a heartbreaker to the University of Hawai’i in the Big West Championship game. They brought back just one starter from last season’s team in senior guard Anya Choice. Last year, Choice averaged 7.9 points and two rebounds in just under 27 minutes per game.

— Through two games this season, the Gauchos are tied for 28th in the NCAA in assists per game with 18.5.
— Senior forward Alexis Whitfield leads the team in scoring with 20.5 points per game. She has also tallied the most rebounds for the Gauchos, averaging 9.5 per game. In addition, Whitfield has scored very efficiently, shooting 68% from the field.
— Off the bench, sophomore sharp-shooter Jessica Grant has hit a team-leading seven three-pointers on 41% over the first two games.
— The Gauchos are averaging 75.5 points per game and are allowing 72.5.

Southern Utah
The Thunderbirds are looking to get back on track after losing their first two home games. Their win on Wednesday night over the Nanooks could allow SUU to get to .500 on the season if they can take care of business on Sunday. 

— Coming off a career-high 30-point performance, senior center Megan Smith leads the team with her 18.7 points per game.
— The Thunderbirds have also received a large contribution from their senior point guard Daylani Ballena. She has racked up 17.3 points per game.
— SUU has struggled taking care of the ball, as they rank 343 out of 348 Division I teams in assist-turnover ratio.
— The Thunderbirds will need to shoot the ball better from three since they are shooting just 20% on 21.6 attempts per game this year.

Author: Brig Pyfer
Photographer: Anden Garfield
Editor: Anden Garfield