“We are always trying to get the ball inside and be aggressive inside because we feel like that is one of our biggest strengths,” stated SUU head coach JR Payne. “It ended well, our two post players had big games in the scoring column.”
Emily Measom started the night with a deep three for the Vikings and then dropped another a few minutes later as the visitors opened the game on a 10-2 run. The Thunderbirds quickly rallied to take a 12-11 lead behind seven-straight points off the bench from Mary Klapperich, Marissa Robbins and Maylinn Smith.
Inside scores from Moreland and Parkinson, followed by a trip to the foul line for Hailey Mandelko helped Southern Utah to extend the advantage to 26-16. Portland State came back to cut the deficit to four with a jumper from Kate Lanz and back-to-back scores by Mikaela Rivard near the end of the first period.
Moreland and Parkinson added two more layups in the final minute and Robbins got to the foul line with less than three seconds left to push the margin back to 35-28 at the break.
Southern Utah shot 50 percent from the field in the first half while the Vikings checked in at 40 percent. PSU posted a 20-14 rebounding advantage but allowed the Thunderbirds to score 28 points in the paint.
Ashleigh Munns opened the second half with a shot from the top of the arc for SUU. Moreland followed with two blocks during a single possession on the defensive end and Marquelle Funk scored a pair of layups to help extend the lead to 47-29 within the first four minutes of the period.
The Vikings used a 14-5 run to narrow the margin to nine, but back-to-back layups from Parkinson helped the Thunderbirds push the count to 58-45 with 7:35 remaining. Portland State made one last effort at a comeback with an 8-0 rally that brought the visitors back within five. Moreland broke up the run with an offensive rebound that resulted in an easy lay-in and scored three more at the foul line to make the score 63-53 with under three minutes to play.
“We got hesitant, we executed alright, but our hesitancy led to tipped balls and a tentative demeanor which hurt us and allowed them to get back into the game,” explained Payne. “We executed and got good looks. We have been working on it in practice and we are so good in practice and aggressive and moving the ball around and we just need to be able to translate that to the game.”
SUU scored six more points at the foul line in the final 60 seconds to come out on top by a final count of 69-60.
The T-Birds finished shooting 42.6 percent from the field but had just one 3-pointer on the night. SUU outscored Portland State in the paint by a total of 48-14 and held the Vikings to 36.5 percent shooting. The visitors posted a 42-35 rebounding advantage but committed 22 turnovers to the Thunderbirds’ 11.
Parkinson and Moreland each scored 17 points for SUU with the latter also collecting 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Rivard led Portland State with 16 points while Easom finished with 15 and Lanz added another 14.
Southern Utah closes out its four-game home stand by hosting Eastern Washington this Saturday. The Thunderbirds and Eagles will take to the court at 2:00 p.m. Additional coverage of SUU basketball is available online at www.suutbirds.com.