Montana and Montana State Women's Basketball Scores & Highlights - News, Sports and Weather

Montana and Montana State Women's Basketball Scores & Highlights, Saturday 2/6

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Montana Women's Basketball Recap:

Playing without McCalle Feller and facing a team selling out to stop Kayleigh Valley, Montana needed somebody, anybody, to step forward Saturday afternoon at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula if the Lady Griz wanted to beat Portland State.

Alycia Sims answered the call with a career game. She hit 13 of her 17 shots, most of them midrange jumpers that were taken with a not-always-there confidence, and finished with a career-high 29 points and 15 rebounds as Montana pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 76-57 victory over the Vikings.

“Alycia is really good facing the basket, and she got a hot hand. You could see she wanted it. They were working hard to keep Kayleigh out of it, and that created some openings for Alycia. She took advantage of it and really hurt them,” said coach Robin Selvig.

“And she did her usual good job defensively and was her normal force on the boards. It was a pretty nice night’s work.”

Knowing nobody outside of Feller and Valley averages even eight points per game, Portland State crafted its game plan toward taking away the latter, knowing a rolled ankle in Thursday night’s 90-83 win over Sacramento State had already taken out the former.

The plan put the Vikings (3-18, 1-9 BSC) right where they wanted to be. Because Montana’s perimeter players struggled to score early on, the Lady Griz led just 34-32 at the half, and the teams were tied at 50 through three quarters.

Those struggles against a team allowing an NCAA-worst 90 points per game shined an even brighter light on the absence of Feller, who was on crutches Saturday. Few players in the league will make a team pay more for sending her defender to help than Feller.

“They were taking Kayleigh away, so at some point you’ve got to make those shots to make people pay,” said Selvig. “They doubled and even tripled her some.

“We were getting good shots because that’s what they were giving us. We just weren’t making any of them.” Until the fourth quarter.

Montana, which was shooting 36.7 percent through three quarters, went 10 for 17 in the final period, with Haley Vining and Hannah Doran, who made her first career start in place of Feller, going 3 for 4 from 3-point range.

Finally the Lady Griz found some breathing room that hadn’t been there the first 30 minutes.

“The game becomes simpler and it changes everything around when you hit the shots you’re given,” said Selvig. “If we were a little more consistent doing that, you wouldn’t see kids hanging on Kayleigh.”

The game was close early on because of Montana’s ineffectiveness from the perimeter and because Portland State posted its flag just below the basket. If it wasn’t Kian McNair driving hard, it was Cici West muscling her way to the rim.

The pair had 26 first-half points, and 11 of PSU’s 12 first-half baskets came in the paint.

“They didn’t hit a perimeter shot to start with. It was all put your head down and drive, and get to the foul line. They threw in some tough ones,” Selvig said.

Montana twice built six-point leads in the third quarter, but Ashley Torres scored six unanswered points in the final minute to send the teams into the fourth quarter tied.

Vining’s first three of the fourth quarter gave Montana the lead for good. Her next three made it 62-55, and Doran’s triple made it 68-57. And that was enough. Montana held Portland State scoreless the final six minutes of the game and to 3-for-18 shooting for the quarter.

The Lady Griz (13-9, 6-5 BSC) outscored the Vikings 26-7 over the final 10 minutes.

“The last quarter we took charge. We were turning the ball out of the double-downs and making shots, and that will take the wind out of your sails. They go from being in range to being down 13 or 14 in a hurry,” said Selvig.

Vining scored all 12 of her points in the second half, all on 3-pointers, and she had six assists with one turnover, giving her 15 assists and three turnovers on Montana’s home sweep that began with Thursday’s win over Sacramento State.

Valley missed 10 shots against PSU’s collapsing defense but still finished with 18 points. She was 6 for 6 from the line and added nine rebounds and a career-high four assists. Doran had eight points and eight rebounds, Mekayla Isaak six rebounds, five assists and a pair of blocks.

McNair had 22 points for Portland State, West added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Montana will play at Southern Utah (2-19, 0-11 BSC) on Thursday and at Northern Arizona (6-16, 2-9 BSC) next Saturday. The Thunderbirds, ahead 43-41 through three quarters, lost 64-53 at Eastern Washington on Saturday. The Lumberjacks lost 76-59 at Idaho.

In other league games, Montana State stayed tied atop the Big Sky Conference with Eastern Washington with a 116-99 win over Sacramento State in Bozeman, Northern Colorado won 61-59 at Idaho State, and North Dakota won 85-78 in overtime at Weber State.

Montana Sports Information

Montana State Women's Basketball Recap:

It was a shootout that would've made Louis L'Amour chuckle.
The Montana State women's basketball team withstood a barrage of Sacramento State three-pointers, while dishing out its own medicine in a 116-99 victory over the Hornets, Saturday afternoon in Worthington Arena.
The 116 points were a new Bobcat school-record. The 25 3-pointers by the Hornets tied its own NCAA mark. But in the end, it was the lowest number on the final boxscore that helped decide the game.
Playing without its senior point-guard Lindsay Stockton (concussion) the Bobcats committed just 12 turnovers against Sacramento State's frenetic full court press that featured wave-after-wave of substitutions.
"I think one of the stories of the game is how well we took care of the ball against Sacramento's defense," said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. "Sacramento State gives you everything thing they have and try to create havoc on both sides of the ball.
"(Playing without Lindsay) I felt really confident in this team because Hannah (Caudill) had such a great game against them last time," Binford added. "Greet (Margreet Barhoum) gave us really good minutes against them last time and we're in a much more confident place. However, when we get a little bit rattled, Lindsay is usually that answer, and it was really exciting to see everybody else respond in the right way."
Montana State (17-5, 10-1) opened the contest taking an eight point lead with a minute left in the frame. Sacramento State (7-14, 4-6) answered with a triple and a charity toss to cut the margin to four heading into the second quarter. The Bobcats shot 67 percent from the field in the first period.
The Hornets took its first lead at the 5:15 mark of the second stanza on an Ericka Magana three-pointer. Sacramento State held a two-point cushion at intermission. Fourteen of Sacramento State's 16 first half baskets came from long distance.
"Sacramento State beat us on the boards in the first half and that was one of the keys to the game for us," Binford said. "We gave up 15 offensive boards and that's giving them way too many second and third chances. We addressed that at halftime and did a much better job being the aggressor under the boards."
Coming out of the break, Sacramento State hit back-to-back three-pointers and a free throw by Adella Randle-El pushed the Hornets lead to 59-50 at the 9:05 mark.
"We took a critical timeout when Sacramento started pulling away," Binford said. "We took it to get our kids attention and challenge them. We needed leaders to step up and we needed to change our body language. We told them they had to be the solution to the problem."
The Bobcats responded to Binford's challenge with a 15-0 run sparked by six points, three rebounds and two steals courtesy of Riley Nordgaard.
"Riley became the instigator," Binford said. "She stepped-up and everyone else followed suit and the momentum turned in our favor."
The two teams traded leads before the Bobcats finished the third period on a 16-7 run to hold an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. 
MSU's lead ballooned to 99-80 ignited by two 3-pointers via Delany Junkermier with 6:24 left and the Bobcats cruised to the victory down the stretch winning its 11th game in the last 12 outings.
"I'm proud with how we were able to get back to our steadiness, poise, and selflessness," Binford said. "When we started to click, everyone was involved and we found the hot hand."
Bobcat junior Peyton Ferris guided seven MSU players in double-figures with 20 points, while Junkermier added 19,Jasmine Hommes 14, Barhoum 13, Caudill 13, Nordgaard 11 and Alexa Dawkins 10. Junkermier and Barhoum both posted career-highs.
Montana State finished with a slight 45-43 advantage under the boards. The Bobcats were led under the glass by Nordgaard with seven rebounds, while Hommes and Ferris chipped in six apiece.
For the game, MSU shot 62 percent from the field and 82 percent from long distance, a new Bobcat single-game record. Montana State also converted 25-30 from the free throw line.
Caudill, a sophomore from Spokane, posted her second career double-double dishing out a game-high ten assists.
Sacramento State was led by Brianna Burgos who posted 34 points and tied a school-record with nine 3-pointers.
Montana State will travel to Northern Arizona on Thursday.

Montana State Sports Information

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