From SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
RENO, Nev. – The 2017-18 season came to an end for the Thunderbird women’s basketball team on Monday night at the Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament in Reno, Nevada, as the Lady T-Birds fell to the Idaho State Bengals 59-49.
“Like a lot of games this season we just weren’t able to come back, and we have one quarter where we don’t score well or defend well and it puts our backs against the wall,” SUU head coach Chris Boettcher said following the contest. “The team fights like crazy and we get close, but haven’t been able to close it out very often this year. And that’s the frustrating part for us as a team and as a program, the whole teams put in so much time and battle so hard that you hope to reward them with a few more wins throughout the season, especially in those close games, but unfortunately Idaho State hit the shots when they needed to.”
Breanu Reid led the scoring effort for the Thunderbirds, finishing the game with 10 points. Reid, who had to play with a face mask for the final weeks of the regular season and in Reno, said she finally got used to it tonight and was able to have a big impact.
“It’s very frustrating, it’s not fun playing with something on your face, but I really just tried to embrace it and you can only control what you can control,” Reid said. “I don’t want to play with it on, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
In her final game as a Thunderbird, Whitney Johnson nearly had a double-double with seven points and nine rebounds. Her sister, Kiana Johnson, finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
Both Ashley Larsen and Skylee Doman suffered apparent injuries in the opening half, but both returned to play a vital role down the stretch.
“I am very impressed and proud of both of them,” Whitney Johnson said about her teammates. “They were willing to come back and sacrifice their bodies for those critical moments, and they didn’t let injuries stop them, so I’m very proud of both of them. I think we needed them, and they knew that.”
As a team the Thunderbirds shot 33 percent from the field.
For Idaho State, Estefania Ors finished with 20 points. Saylair Grandon finished with 16 for the Bengals as well.
“I’m really proud of Whitney and her leadership, and everything she’s brought to our team the last two years,” Boettcher said. “We’re sad to see her go, but with one junior and a bunch of sophomores and freshman and an incoming recruiting class that add to our depth and the ability to play the style we want to play for a longer period of time, I’m really excited about the future of our program.”