CEDAR CITY — Breaunna Gillen scored 23 points and teammate Maddie Warren added 22 as the Utah Tech University women’s basketball team notched an 87-77 win over Southern Utah University on Thursday evening.

Utah Tech’s Breaunna Gillen moves toward the basket vs. Southern Utah, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 8, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

It was the second time in the past three weeks that the Trailblazers have beaten the Thunderbirds, with Utah Tech having earned a 78-71 victory in St. George on Jan. 18. 

In sweeping the season series over their rivals to the north, the Trailblazers improved to 8-4 in Western Athletic Conference play and 14-9 overall. Meanwhile, SUU’s season record dropped to 4-8 in the WAC and 6-15 overall.

Utah Tech led wire-to-wire, jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes. The Trailblazers made 10-of-14 field goals (71.4%) in the first quarter, while SUU made just 5-of-19 (26.3%) during the opening stanza.

SUU shot appreciably better during the second quarter, converting 8-of-14 field goals; however, Utah Tech still held a 44-36 halftime lead.

The Trailblazers did most of their damage from close range, finishing the game with a 46-28 advantage on points in the paint, including 8-0 on fast breaks. 

Southern Utah guard Samantha Johnston shoots a 3-pointer vs. Utah Tech, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 8, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Utah Tech also outscored the T-Birds by 11 from the foul line, with the Trailblazers converting 18-of-22 total free throws to SUU’s 7-of-8.

Also scoring in double figures for Utah Tech were Maggie McCord with 16 points and freshman guard Calyn Dallas with 14.

SUU was led by senior guard Samantha Johnston, who scored a career-high 24 points, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Fellow senior guard Daylani Ballena added 19 points for the T-Birds, while freshman forward Ava Uhrich scored 18. 

The game was played in front of a crowd of approximately 750 at America First Event Center. SUU’s home uniforms were bright pink, symbolizing the fight against breast cancer, with many in the audience also showing their support by wearing similar attire.

Utah Tech’s next scheduled game is at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Cal Baptist. Also on Saturday at 2 p.m., SUU is scheduled to play at home against Grand Canyon.

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