Southern Utah women’s basketball drops heartbreaker in Big Sky tournament

Southern Utah women's basketball's Madelyn Eaton dribbles in the team's Big Sky tournament loss to Northern Colorado, Idaho Central Arena, Boise, Idaho, March 9, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Brooks Nuanez, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — The Southern Utah women’s basketball team saw their 2020-21 season come to a close Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament. They lost to the fourth-seeded Northern Colorado Bears 59-63 inside Idaho Central Arena.

File photo: Dixie State University at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 21, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Lady T-Birds will wrap up their season with an 11-9 overall record and finish 6-5 in Big Sky play.

“Credit to UNC, I thought they played great. We had some opportunities that I thought we missed out on, but overall it was a good game,” head coach Tracy Sanders said. “It is always hard to end the season like that. We were asking some of our girls to play some heavy minutes there, but overall we played hard and that’s all we can ask for.”

Liz Graves was the leading scorer for the Thunderbirds in the loss with 19 points. She also pulled down 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Darri Frandsen, Madelyn Eaton, and Cherita Daugherty all scored in double-digits as Frandsen and Eaton had 13 and Daugherty had 12.

Eaton had the first four points for the T-Birds, but the Bears were able to build up a 9-4 lead by the 3:25 mark. The Thunderbirds hadn’t scored in 2:00+, but quickly turned that drought into a lead by scoring the next nine points. They led 13-11 after the end of one quarter.

Northern Colorado opened the second quarter on a 6-0 scoring run that set the pace for the next 10 minutes of play. They led by five at the media timeout and ended up outscoring the Thunderbirds 16-9 in the quarter. The T-Birds would go into the break down 22-27.

The Thunderbirds came out in the third quarter and went on a 12-5 run to take the lead back with 3:43 to play. They went on a 10-0 run during that time while the Bears went 0-for-7 from the floor. Southern Utah would go on to outscore the Bears 21-15 in the quarter and take a 43-42 lead into the final quarter of play.

Northern Colorado opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers to swing the momentum back in their favor. They held a seven-point lead when the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 scoring run to make it 50-51. That would be as close as they would get however, as the Bears outscored them 12-9 down the stretch.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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