From SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
CEDAR CITY–The Lady T-Birds picked up their first Big Sky win Thursday night as they took down the Idaho State Bengals 76-70 in Cedar City.
“We’ve always had a lot fight in us and as we watched film and as we talked, we haven’t been executing as smart with that fight sometimes and tonight they did a great job of slowing it down, executing and implementing what we have been working on in practice,” head coach Chris Boettcher said. “They understood the game, the time, the score and that was great to see tonight.”
Both teams got off to a slow start as they scored just 20 points between them in the first quarter. The Bengals didn’t score their first basket until 5:08 to tie the game at 3-3. Things picked up in the second quarter as both teams put up 14 points each.
When the first half came to a close, the Thunderbirds trailed the Bengals 26-22.
The Thunderbird offense exploded in the third quarter as they scored 28 points, highlighted by a 15-3 run. The rally really caught fire when Breanu Reid hit a three-point shot, drew the foul, and completed the four-point play at the line. The huge quarter was capped off when Rebecca Cardenas hit a half-court buzzer beater to put the T-Birds up 50-42.
“I think we were a little bit nervous about hitting outside shots in the first half so when Bre hit that shot, and got the and one call, it relaxed everyone and showed them that we could hit the threes,” Boettcher said. “Then Nat hit a couple and then Bre hit another one and it just all of a sudden opened it up. The pressure of the tight game and all of the losses was lifted and they were able to just play free.”
The Bengals came back with 28 points of their own in the fourth quarter, but the Thunderbirds were able to hold them off, scoring 26 points and winning 76-70. The Thunderbirds now move to 1-2 in Big Sky Conference play.
Cardenas led all scorers for the second consecutive game with 17 points. She also had seven rebounds, five steals, and was 8-10 from the free throw line. Three other Thunderbirds finished with double digit points: Reid had 15, Whitney Johnson had 13, and Natalie Sanchez put in 11.
The Lady T-Birds will be back in action on Saturday against Weber State in the America First Event Center. The Wildcats are coming off a 76-75 loss to Northern Arizona on Thursday.