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ISU Women's Basketball defeat SUU

Bengals Dominant in 80-60 Win over SUU
Bengals Dominant in 80-60 Win over SUU

Bengals Dominant in 80-60 Win over SUU

Written by Jon Match

The Idaho State Bengals and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds clashed in the pivotal mid Big Sky season matchup. The Bengals (12-6, 8-1 BSC) took down the Tbirds (9-6, 5-1 BSC) 80-60 in front of a rowdy Bengal crowd in Reed gym.

Heading into the game, the Thunderbirds were a perfect 5-0 in conference play sitting atop the standings. The Bengals, then 7-1 were eyeing that top spot as the two teams met.

The first quarter started physical with both tams going back and forth, tying twice and having four lead changes. The Bengals physical play started early in the game scoring eight points in the paint. Ellie Smith led with six of those points on three-of-four shooting.

The Thunderbirds wasted no time in the second period rushing back after tying the game at 9:08 in the period at 17-17 the Bengals knew they needed to respond.

Without hesitation Dora Goles, off the bench, took the pass on the perimeter and hit her three pointer right in the face of the SUU defender, the Bengals led 20-17 with 8:52 to play.

The Bengals methodically held the lead throughout the period when with 5:48 to go, Tomekia Whitman hit a layup to give the Bengals a 27-20-point advantage, their largest lead of the quarter.

The SUU Thunderbirds surged back and with four to play had pulled the lead to within one.

Staring down the Thunderbird charge, the Bengals once again pulled to within seven after Goles drove to the rim and hit the layup.

The most exciting play of the first half occurred when Whitman expertly broke apart the SUU defense, drove to the basket and laid the ball in as the halftime buzzer sounded throughout the gym. The Bengals went into the locker room up 36-30.

The Bengals ended the half on 14-of-29 shooting for 48.3 percent. Both teams shot few free throws in the half and the Bengals finished a perfect 4-4 from the line.

Coming out of the locker room, the Bengals grabbed the defensive board and Konate proceeded to drive it right to the rack putting the Orange and Black up 38-30 with 9:28 to play.

The momentum shifted just nine minutes into the 3rd. After SUU hit 2 free throws to get the lead down to six points, the Bengals responded with a Whitman jumper in the paint and a Konate layup to take a 44-34 10-point layup and the Bengals never looked back.

For the final 16 minutes the Orange and Black was relentless, keeping the Thunderbirds at bay, stopping them whenever they tried to push offensively and maintaining an 11-15 point lead.

At the end of the third, Diaba Konate had a wildly electric play that got the Bengal crowd on its feet. Snagging the rebound with 3 seconds to play, Konate had no choice but to heave the ball from the half court. The ball sailed through the air in a very shallow arc and banked in off the glass as the Buzzer sounded. The Bengal fans lost their minds and the team took excitement and momentum into the final period up 63-50.

In the fourth quarter, the Bengals put together a true team effort to close our the game. Not one Bengal had more than three points but eight players combined for 17 points as the team held SUU to just 10 points in the final 10 minutes.

As a team, the Bengals put together a complete offensive performance, going 32-of-59 from the floor for 54.2 FG percent. From behind the arc, the Bengals shot 45 percent on nine-of-20 and from the charity stripe, the Bengals finished seven-of-eight.

Konate led all scorers with 19 points on seven-of-12 shooting from the floor and three other Bengals scored in double digits. Ors came in just behind Konate with 18 points on six-of-11 shooting and Goles had 15 points on five-of-nine from the field including four-of-six from three point range. Whitman rounded out the group scoring 10 points.

The Bengals took it to the Tbirds in the paint, outscoring SUU 36-20 under the rim. Ellie Smith had eight points going four-of-five and Finley Garnett and Kayla Salmons also tacked on field goals of their own.

The Bengals held the Tbirds to 28 boards, 14.4 under their season average. The Bengals pulled down nine oboards in the game and had seven second-chance points.

The Bengals forced 19 turnovers off of SUU with 11 steals. The Bengals took advantage and had 17 points off of those turnovers.

In all, the Bengals put together a team effort to take down the Thunderbirds and sit alone on top of the Big Sky Conference Standings at 8-1.

The Orange and Black are still home this next week as they host the Sacramento State and Northern Colorado.

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Rachel was born and raised in Pocatello and is now studying for a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Rachel is a student-athlete on both ISU’s Track and Cross-Country teams. When Rachel isn’t running, she enjoys travelling, sleepy Sundays spent working in coffee shops and adventuring in Idaho’s wilderness. Her research interests include sustainable development, environmental policy and public policy theory.