State colleges: Southern Utah wins in Big Sky basketball debut

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Jackson Stevenett scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, helping Southern Utah start Big Sky Conference play with a 79-67 victory over fellow conference newcomer North Dakota on Monday night in Cedar City.

Stevenett added a team-leading five assists. Wade Collie chipped in a career-high 18 points off the bench for the Thunderbirds (3-6), and Damon Heuir had 13.

Aaron Anderson led North Dakota (2-7) with 16 points but was just 3 of 9 from the field, part of a 30 percent team shooting effort. Mitch Wilmer had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

In the first-ever meeting between the schools, Southern Utah never trailed after the opening minutes, but Alonzo Traylor's jumper pulled North Dakota within 62-59 with 3:56 left. An A.J. Hess 3-pointer and a Stevenett layup gave the Thunderbirds some breathing room, and Southern Utah hit nine free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Women's basketball

Southern Utah 79, Houston Baptist 58 • In Cedar City, Marquelle Funk scored 14 points, and the Thunderbirds dominated the second half after trailing 29-26 at halftime. Sofia Hepworth added 12 points for SUU (5-4), and Kimie Hawkins had 11.

Westminster 59, Oklahoma Baptist 39 • In Shawnee, Okla., Tia Pappas scored 16 points, and Cydney Tibbits had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Griffins (10-2) to the win. Kelsi Wells added 11 points for Westminster.