ST. GEORGE — A big fourth quarter by Utah Valley spelled doom for the Southern Utah Thunderbirds women’s basketball team in its season opener on Saturday.
A minute in a half into the final frame, the T-Birds held a five-point lead over the Wolverines and had trailed by no more than a single point in the first 75% of the game. But Utah Valley outscored SUU 23-7 for the remainder of the game to take home the win, 58-47.
The Thunderbirds took eight personal fouls in the fourth quarter of their 23 in the game, sending UVU to the free-throw line 10 times. The Wolverines sank nine of those shots to complement an 8-for-15 effort from the field in the quarter and 8-for-13 on two-point attempts. They scored 15 points in the last four minutes of the game, seven of which came on free throws.
Southern Utah held Utah Valley to just 5-for-26 from the field in the first half, including 1-for-12 in the second quarter. It entered halftime with a layup by redshirt freshman Lizzy Williamson at the buzzer, stretching its lead to six, its highest of the day.
Redshirt senior guard Liz Graves led the Thunderbirds with 11 points and was one rebound away from her first double-double with the school.
It was an impromptu matchup between the two teams, as both had to cancel their games against the University of Utah due to COVID-19 concerns. With an empty slate on both teams’ schedules, it made the two natural opponents.
Southern Utah won the contest between the two teams last season, on Nov. 9, 2019, 71-58.
The Thunderbirds travel to Missoula, Montana to take on the University of Montana on Dec. 5, opening Big Sky conference play.
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