SUU held on to a narrow advantage throughout most of the first ten minutes of the game, but the Idaho State came back to take a four-point lead at the break after hitting five of its first 11 attempts from 3-point territory. Forward Jessica Tingey started 6-6 from the field to turn in 12 first half points and the Bengals took a 36-32 cushion into the locker room.
The margin grew to nine ISU put up the first five points of the second half on a jumper from Rebecca Schrimpsher followed by a 3-point basket for Kara Jenkins, one of her six triples in the contest. Ashleigh Munns answered back for the T-Birds with a three of her own, but a layup by Tingey had the home team back in front by seven at 43-36 three minutes in.
A quick 7-2 run had Southern Utah back within a score at 45-43 with 14:32 remaining, and layup by Lori Parkinson two minutes later gave the Thunderbirds their first lead of the period at 47-46.
Jenkins sank a jumper to put the Bengals in front again, and the home team took control for the next several minutes, but ISU was unable to distance itself from SUU. The count sat at 63-59 in favor of Idaho State with just over five minutes remaining when Mandelko sank a three to bring the Thunderbirds within one.
Carli Moreland dropped in a pair of free throws to put Southern Utah in front at the four minute mark, but Jenkins connected again from the outside to give the lead back to the Bengals with 3:35 left on the clock. The T-Bird defense tightened from there however, closing the game on a 6-0 run to come out on top by a final score of 70-66.
Mandelko contributed another late 3-point basket and two free throws down the stretch to finish with 12 points. Parkinson posted 14 points and seven rebounds for the Thunderbirds while senior Andrea Jones paced SUU by scoring 15. Souhern Utah had a season-low with seven turnovers and led the Bengals in bench scoring by a count of 24-8. Each team finished with 43 rebounds.
Idaho State shot 42.3 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three. Jenkins scored a game-high 20 points, followed closely by Lindsey Reed who had 17. Tingey added just two more points in the second half to finish the game with 14.
The Thunderbirds play again this Saturday with a visit scheduled to Weber State. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. with coverage available online at www.suutbirds.com.