The Thunderbirds (4-5, 1-1 Summit League) had 11 players score as they beat the Wolverines (1-8) for the second time this season. Senior guard Caitlyn Sears added 14 points and senior point guard dished out a season-high seven assists for SUU who opened the game with a 10-0 run and never looked back.
“We received great efforts from start to finish by every single player tonight,” stated second year head coach JR Payne. “Challis was tremendous for us tonight. She has really come on these past couple weeks and did a little bit of everything to help us get a good win on our home floor.”
Southern Utah was off and running early on, opening the game with a 10-0 run as Sears and Pascucci each finished on a couple layins each. Goff and Sears highlighted the run with back-to-back steals and coast-to-coast layups. Minutes later, Goff made another steal and dished to freshman guard Andrea Jones who knocked down a wide open three from the right wing to give SUU a 13-3 lead and force UVU to take its second timeout in the opening six minutes.
The Thunderbirds hot shooting would continue later in the half as a number of players would contribute for SUU who used a 16-4 run to open up a 31-11 lead at the 7:56 mark. Freshman Angel Dorn and Goff each hit three’s while freshman Carli Moreland came off the bench to score four points and Pascucci continued to stay hot, scoring three more baskets to own 10 points through the first 12 minutes.
Utah Valley would add a couple baskets before a pair of free throws from Pascucci again gave SUU its 20-point lead back but the Wolverines would catch fire down the stretch. A 7-0 run by UVU to close out the half cut the Southern Utah lead to 37-24 at the break. Pascucci led all scorers with 14 points and Sears added eight for the Thunderbirds who shot 43%, forced 14 UVU turnovers and held the Wolverines to 35% shooting through the first 20 minutes.
The second half saw both teams trade baskets in the opening minutes before Pascucci and the Thunderbirds once again got hot. SUU received seven points from Pascucci as they put together an 13-2 run to build their largest lead of the game, 54-32 just over nine minutes into the second period. Sophomore forward Tayler Anderson made couple nice entry passes to Pascucci and later drove the lane with her left hand and finished with a layin. Sears capped the run with a fall-away jumper from the baseline.
It was all SUU for there on out, keeping its lead in the 20’s and taking its largest lead, 61-34 at the 8:41 mark on a Pascucci free throw. Utah Valley would use a full court press in the later minutes after the Thunderbird regulars were out of the game.
Southern Utah finished the game shooting 42% and turned 28 Utah Valley turnovers into 24 points. Sears and Pascucci each brought down six rebounds while Goff and Anderson each grabbed five boards. Pasucci hit a career-best 11 field goals and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line to beat her previous career-high of 23, set last season against Western Illinois University.
The Thunderbirds continue their six-game homestand with a matchup against Santa Clara University at Noon on Monday in the Centrum Arena.