Big Sky Women's Basketball, Saturday 1/18 - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Women's Basketball, Saturday 1/18

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MSU WOMEN DEAL NORTH DAKOTA 1ST CONFERENCE LOSS

Montana State used a stifling zone defense and a strong second half performance to snap North Dakota's seven game home win streak and hand UND its first Big Sky loss of the season with a 76-65 victory, Saturday afternoon in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Montana State (10-5, 5-1) trailed by as much as nine points in the first half. In addition, MSU saw its leading scorer Ashley Brumwell pick-up three fouls in the first half. The Hamilton native went scoreless in six minutes of action.

Fortunately for Montana State, junior Jackie Elliott and sophomore Kayla DeWit picked up the slack with eight and six points, respectively. And, despite shooting an icy 30 percent in the opening stanza, the Bobcats trailed 30-27 at intermission.

"Ashley got in to early foul trouble," said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. "I thought Jackie, and especially Kayla, really stepped-up and kept us in the game. It was important for us to be within striking distance at halftime."

The Bobcats opened the second half with a 9-0 run and never looked back. The run was sparked by Jasmine Hommes with six points and Brumwell with a three-pointer.

North Dakota (11-5, 6-1) whittled the margin to one-point with fourteen-minutes, 34-second remaining, but the Bobcats responded with an 18-7 run to take a 56-44 lead on a Hommes layup and cruised to the win.

"Defensively, I really thought we took a big step forward," Binford said. "We did a nice job packing it in, and the guard play on top from Kalli (Durham), Ausha (Cole), Margreet (Barhoum) and Lindsay (Stockton) really did a terrific job covering a lot of ground."

MSU also did a nice job under the glass against North Dakota, who entered the game out-rebounding its opponents by 16 boards per game. UND finished with a slim 47-46 edge in rebounding.

"North Dakota is one of the top rebounding teams in the country," Binford said. "We battled with them under the boards. Obviously, giving up 23 offensive rebounds isn't what we wanted, but we neutralized their strength. In fact, we challenged our kids a halftime to be strong with the ball because UND does a good job of ripping it away."

Elliott and Hommes paced four Bobcats in double-figures with 18 points and ten rebounds, apiece. Also in double-digits were Brumwell 14 and Durham 12. Cole finished with a game-high seven assists.

For the game, MSU shot 41 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half. It marked the third straight game the Bobcats have been at or over 50 percent in the final twenty minutes of the game. The Montana State defense limited UND to 32 percent shooting.

UND was led by Makailah Dyer with 20 points.

Montana State will host Weber State on Thursday night in Worthington Arena.

 

LADY GRIZ FINISH 0-2 ON TRIP, LOSE TO NORTHERN COLORADO

For the second straight game Montana was unable to hold a sizeable lead, and the result was an 0-2 road trip to North Dakota and Northern Colorado.

The Lady Griz (9-6, 3-3 BSC) built an 18-5 lead in the opening 10 minutes of its 57-54 loss to the Bears (9-7, 3-4 BSC) Saturday afternoon at Greeley, Colo., but UNC rallied to even the score by halftime.

Northern Colorado shot 50 percent in the second half and built what would become a nine-point lead, then held on as Montana came up empty on three possessions in the final minute while down three.

"It's a shame we wasted that good start," UM coach Robin Selvig said. "We got off to a good start, and then they got after us. They were physical, and we lost composure and started scrambling and got out of sync a little bit."

The loss came two days after dropping a 62-57 decision at North Dakota, a game Montana led by nine in the second half. The two losses drop the Lady Griz from among the league leaders into the mess of the chase group that features five teams with three Big Sky losses.

All are looking up at North Dakota (11-5, 6-1 BSC) and Montana State (10-5, 5-1 BSC), the two league leaders who squared off Saturday afternoon in Grand Forks. The Bobcats won their fifth straight game and handed UND its first Big Sky loss with a 76-65 win.

Montana shot 32 percent in Thursday's loss at North Dakota but showed no effects of that performance in the early going Saturday. The Lady Griz hit their first three shots, including 3-pointers from Torry Hll and Kellie Cole, and a Jordan Sullivan three put Montana up 11-2 before the first media timeout.

Sullivan hit another three, giving her 10 points in the game's opening eight minutes, and Hill added another basket to make it 18-5 at the midway point of the half.

At that point Northern Colorado was 2 for 10 with six turnovers, but the Bears flipped the switch and quickly became a different team.

They were 7 for 13 the rest of the half with three turnovers and held Montana to just three field goals the final 10:30 to even the score at 27-27 by halftime. The Lady Griz had 10 first-half turnovers.

"The second part of the first half, they said, Okay, if you're going to be kicking us, we're going to get after you and hound you and see if you guys can handle it," Selvig said. "We didn't handle it very well and gave away the lead."

Three-pointers by Hill and Cole allowed Montana, which went 10 for 20 from the arc for the game, to get out to an early lead in the second half, but a four-minute scoring drought, coupled with an 8-0 run for Northern Colorado, allowed the Bears to build a lead they would never give back.

The UNC lead would reach nine points, 54-45, at the 4:44 mark. To its credit, Montana would give up just one more basket the rest of the game, and that allowed the Lady Griz to nearly come back.

Haley Vining hit a pair of threes late in the second half to spark the rally, and Sullivan scored six points in the final 4:19. Her two free throws made it 57-54 with 1:32 still to play.

Northern Colorado, with two turnovers and a missed shot, gave Montana all the chances it could want, but Cole dribbled into a double team and turned it over with just over a minute remaining, then missed a three with 17 seconds left.

The Lady Griz forced another turnover, a UNC double dribble right in front of the Bears' bench, and that gave Montana possession with 8.2 seconds left.

After Selvig used a timeout to diagram a play, Vining came off a screen at the top of the key, but with the clock winding down she could not find an open player, and her hurried 3-point shot at the buzzer into double coverage wasn't close.

"For the most part I thought we did a nice job defensively today, and we were able to come back and give ourselves some opportunities," said Selvig, whose team has lost three straight to the Bears in Greeley. "But we didn't shoot the ball particularly well."

Sullivan led Montana with 17 points, Cole had 11 and a team-high five assists, and Kayleigh Valley added a season-high 10 points off the bench while playing a season-high 22 minutes. Carly Selvig had 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists and 2 steals, all season highs.

Montana shot 35.8 percent, making it 33.9 percent for the road trip, and was outrebounded by eight in the second half and 35-30 for the game.

Stephanie Lee led Northern Colorado with 15 points. The Bears shot 44.9 percent, the second-highest percentage Montana has allowed this season.

The Lady Griz will open a four-game home stand next week when Montana hosts Idaho State (4-10, 2-3 BSC) and Weber State (4-10, 0-5 BSC) at Dahlberg Arena.

In other Big Sky Conference games Saturday afternoon, Idaho State won at Southern Utah 69-65, Northern Arizona won at Portland State 88-67, and Eastern Washington won at home over Sacramento State 78-65.

 

BIG SKY CONFERENCE STANDINGS

North Dakota (6-1 BSC, 11-5)

Montana State (5-1, 10-5)

Eastern Washington (4-3, 8-8)

Sacramento State (3-3, 11-4)

Montana (3-3, 9-6)

Southern Utah (3-3, 9-6)

Portland State (3-4, 5-11)

Northern Colorado (3-4, 9-7)

Idaho State (2-3, 4-10)

Northern Arizona (2-4, 5-10)

Weber State (0-5, 4-10)

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