The Southern Utah women’s basketball team didn’t just show up Thursday night at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo., in the opening round of the NIT.
The Thunderbirds (23-9) blew by the Colorado State Rams 71-56 to move into the second round against Colorado. That game will be at 7 p.m. Saturday in Boulder, Colo. The Rams finished 25-8.
Southern Utah’s Hailey Mandelko had a game-high 19 points. Desiree Jackson and Maylinn Smith each chipped in 11 points.
The Thunderbirds dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Rams 45-25. Jackson led the way with a game-high 10 boards; teammates Lori Parkinson and Carli Moreland each grabbed seven rebounds and each scored nine points.
AJ Newton scored 17 points to lead Colorado State, which made just 6 of 24 3-pointers.
Westminster 66,William Woods 50
The No. 1 seed Westminster Griffins blew past William Woods (Mo.) on Thursday afternoon to improve to 25-2, extend their win streak to 18, and move into the second round of the NAIA tournament in Frankfort, Ky.
It was the Griffins’ sixth straight win in NAIA openers.
Frontier Conference Player of the Year Alli Blake and Defensive Player of the Year Tia Pappas scored 19 points each for Westminster; Shelby Ellsworth grabbed 11 rebounds.
Westminster went on a 9-0 second-half run to stretch its lead to 20 points, 53-33, the largest lead of the game. The Owls worked the margin down to nine, 59-50, on a basket by Dennisha Rice, but Alli Winters answered with a 3 to give the Griffins another double-digit cushion over William Woods (22-11).
Combined news services
SUU, Westminster women advance
P Southern Utah at Colorado, 7 p.m. MT Saturday
P Westminster vs. MidAmerica Nazarene, 4:15 p.m. MT Friday