“Early in the exhibition games you are just trying to do a little bit of everything,” stated SUU head coach JR Payne. “Sort of see what works, what doesn’t work, see what areas you need to improve.”
SUU built an 11-2 advantage in the first four minutes and saw the lead grow to 42-20 at the break. Senior Andrea Jones shot 3-5 from behind the arc in the early going to lead the T-Birds with 12 points in the opening period.
“We have been talking about being able to kick-start a great offensive and defensive effort in the first two minutes of the game,” stated Payne. “It was a focus for them to start and everybody who came into the game continued that.”
Southern Utah opened the second half on a 12-2 run as Parkinson and senior Marissa Robbins worked inside for scores to stretch the margin to 54-25 with 16:20 left to play. The Thunderbird offense was even better late in the game as the team shot 57.1 percent from the field down the stretch to eventually come out on top by a final score of 92-49.
The Thunderbirds outrebounded the Mountaineers, 44-30 and ended with 44 points in the paint to just 14 for the visitors. Southern Utah also racked up 29 points off turnovers as well as 50 bench points. In addition to the 15 points scored by Parkinson and Jackson, SUU got another 14 from Jones and 10 from Robbins. Desiree Smith led Western State Colorado with 12 points and six rebounds.
“We had good balance tonight,” explained Payne. “Every single person scored and every single had a rebound which is great.”
Southern Utah opens it regular season on the road next with a visit to Boise State. The T-Birds and Broncos are scheduled to tip things off on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Coverage of SUU basketball can be found at www.suutbirds.com.