Lady Griz draw Bobcats in Big Sky tournament
Montana finished alone in third place in the final Big Sky Conference standings and will face No. 6 Montana State in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tournament next week at Grand Forks, N.D.
Montana (20-9, 14-6 BSC) finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak, capped by Saturday's 83-66 victory over Northern Arizona, but it wasn't enough to chase down the Big Sky leaders.
North Dakota (20-9, 15-5 BSC) and Southern Utah (21-8, 15-5 BSC), both in their second year in the league, shared the regular-season championship. The Thunderbirds tied UND atop the standings with a 63-48 victory over Northern Colorado Saturday night at Cedar City, Utah.
North Dakota earned hosting rights because of its season sweep of fourth-place Eastern Washington (16-13, 12-8 BSC). UND and Southern Utah split their head-to-head matchups this winter, and both split with third-place Montana. The Thunderbirds split with Eastern Washington.
The seven-team tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday at UND's Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
On Thursday, No. 2 Southern Utah will face No. 7 Sacramento State (18-11, 10-10 BSC) at 1:30 p.m. (MT). No. 3 Montana and No. 6 Montana State (15-14, 10-10 BSC) will follow at 4 p.m. (MT), and No. 4 Eastern Washington and No. 5 Idaho State (13-16, 11-9 BSC) will match up at 6:30 p.m. (MT).
Southern Utah swept its season series with Sacramento State, winning 97-79 at Sacramento and 93-74 at Cedar City. Montana swept Montana State, 84-79 in overtime at Missoula and 72-65 on Monday at Bozeman. Eastern Washington and Idaho State split their series, with each team winning at home. The Eagles won 67-55 at Cheney, the Bengals won 86-62 on Thursday at Pocatello.
No. 1 North Dakota will face the lowest seed of the three quarterfinal winners on Friday at 4 p.m. (MT) in the first semifinal. The other two quarterfinal winners will meet at 6:30 p.m. (MT).
Saturday's championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MT).
Montana and Montana State have met 16 times in the postseason. The Lady Griz hold a 12-4 advantage.
Their last Big Sky tournament meeting came two years ago. Montana swept the regular-season matchups in 2011-12, but Montana State won their tournament quarterfinal game at Pocatello, Idaho, 68-59.
Montana has won the Big Sky Conference tournament championship 16 times in the first 25 years of the women's tournament.
Men's Tournament Pairings Announced
Below are the pairing for the Men's Tournament at Weber State in Ogden, Utah.
2:05 p.m. - No. 7 Sacramento State vs. No. 2 North Dakota
4:30 p.m. - No. 6 Northern Colorado vs. No. 3 Northern Arizona
7 p.m. - No. 5 Portland State vs. No. 4 Montana
Semifinals - Friday, March 14
4:30 p.m. - Highest Remaining Seeds vs 2nd Highest Remaining Seed
7 p.m. - Lowest Remaining Seed at No. 1 Weber State
Final - Saturday, March 15