With two minutes left in overtime, Idaho State had a chance to strike back after Rebecca Cardenas made a stepback jumper to give Southern Utah a 65-63 lead.
But first Tomekia Whitman, then — after an offensive rebound — Callie Bourne missed open 3-pointers for the Bengals, a microcosm of ISU’s night.
The Bengals missed their final five field-goal attempts of the game, scoring just two points in the final 3:32 of overtime as Southern Utah stayed undefeated at home with a 72-65 overtime win Thursday in Cedar City.
“(Southern Utah) made big-time shots,” ISU assistant coach Jasmine Stohr said in a postgame radio interview. “They had a couple big-time shots that led to momentum swings, and sometimes that’s how the game goes.”
The offensive collapse in overtime was a continuation of ISU’s struggles late in the fourth quarter.
After Dora Goles’ 3-pointer gave them a 58-48 lead with 4:29 left in regulation, the Bengals didn’t score again, missing their next eight shots as Southern Utah stormed back with a 10-0 run, tying the game on a 3-pointer by Shalyn Fano with 1:25 left.
Fano led all scorers with 22 points, making 4 of 6 3s for Southern Utah.
The T-Birds shot 52.9% from 3 (9 of 17), the highest percentage ISU has given up from behind the arc this season. The Bengals made 6 of 21 3-pointers (28.6%).
Idaho State, which had 17 offensive rebounds to SUU’s 12, had three chances to go back ahead on its next possession thanks to back-to-back boards by Ellie Smith that kept the possession alive. But Smith, Bourne and Whitman all missed their shots, and eventually Southern Utah came away with the ball with 15 seconds left.
The T-Birds isolated their star scorer, Rebecca Cardenas, on the left wing against ISU’s Diaba Konate and tried to have her cut backdoor, but Konate got a hand on the pass from Claudia Armato and dove on the floor to come up with the loose ball and force overtime.
The Bengals appeared to break out of their slump early in the extra period as Bourne fed Smith for a layup and then hit a straight-on 3 for a 63-61 lead, but Jessica Chatman made two free throws to tie it before Cardenas’ go-ahead jumper, and ISU didn’t score again until Whitman made two consolation free throws to make it 70-65 with 29 seconds to go.
“We had about three or four wide-open looks, and we just didn’t hit them tonight,” Stohr said. “It was a well-played game and the ball fell right for (Southern Utah), but we gave the right effort.”
Idaho State led by a slim margin for the entire first quarter, which ended 8-6 in favor of the Bengals as both teams struggled to make shots. The teams traded runs for most of the second, but ISU took a 32-28 lead into halftime after Montana Oltrogge scored the last five points of the half.
The Bengals stretched their lead to eight with a 6-2 run to start the second half and held onto that margin until the fateful last five minutes of regulation.
It was the second overtime loss of the season for the Bengals, who also fell 74-69 at Arizona State on Dec. 8. ISU’s closest win this season was by 17 points, but the Bengals already have five losses of 10 points or fewer on their resume.
On Thursday, thanks primarily to offensive rebounds, they attempted a whopping 13 more field goals than the T-Birds — 70 to 57 — but every other statistical indicator went SUU’s way. Southern Utah shot 38.6% to ISU’s 35.7%.
The Thunderbirds also shot 26 free throws to Idaho State’s 10, meaning that even though the Bengals shot well from the line (9 of 10), SUU outscored them by 10 points there.
All five starters were in double figures for Idaho State, led by Smith with 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Konate had 11 points with five steals, and Whitman, Bourne and Dora Goles had 10 apiece.
All of Whitman, Konate, Goles and Bourne played at least 37 minutes, with Whitman clocking a game-high 41.
ISU’s bench players combined to attempt six field goals in 39 minutes and scored 12 points — eight by Oltrogge and four by Irene Vicente.
Up next: ISU returns home, playing Northern Arizona at Reed Gym at 2 p.m Saturday.
SOUTHERN UTAH 72, IDAHO STATE 65 (OT)
Idaho State 8 24 16 10 7 — 65
Southern Utah 6 22 12 18 14 — 72
Idaho State — Whitman 10, Goles 10, Bourne 10, Smith 12, Konate 11, Vicente 4, Oltrogge 8.
Southern Utah — Cardenas 18, Armato 8, Fano 22, Hansen 13, Chatman 2, Larsen 8, Frandsen 1.