Lady Griz Overwhelm Vikings 94-58 (Photo Gallery)

By JOEL CARLSON  Photo Gallery by MEGHAN NOLT

Kellie Cole lit the fire, Torry Hill made sure it stayed blazing, and the result was a 94-58 victory for the Lady Griz over Portland State Saturday afternoon at Dahlberg Arena.

The win was Montana’s fourth-straight game scoring more than 81 points and moved the Lady Griz (9-4) into a tie for second in the Big Sky Conference standings at 3-1.

Cole, who matched the Vikings in scoring through the first 10 minutes, opened the game hitting her first seven shots and had 18 by the break to spark the Lady Griz to a 48-30 halftime lead.

But she had a challenger for player-of-the-game honors, because Hill was maybe a tighter game away from posting her first career triple-double.

The point guard totaled eight assists and seven steals and added 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, but with the game decided early, Hill only played nine second-half minutes and 25 for the game.

Kellie Cole

Kellie Cole had a team high, 23 points. Photo by Austin Smith.

All 13 players on Montana’s active roster saw at least seven minutes of action.

“It was obviously another good game for us,” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “We played great from the start. We passed it. We shot it. We just played really well. I felt we were in control most of the way.

“Torry was great today. She found people who were making shots, she made shots of her own, and she was really into it defensively. And Kellie obviously had a hot hand. A really hot hand. I could probably say something positive about everybody, because it was one of those games.”

Portland State (4-10, 2-3 BSC) entered the game with a pair of Big Sky wins, including a road victory at Eastern Washington, but the Vikings lost 6-foot-1 forward Angela Misa for at least Saturday’s game when she suffered a knee injury late in PSU’s loss at Montana State Thursday night.

Misa was averaging 10.9 points on 47 percent shooting and a team-high 9.0 rebound per game, and without her interior presence, the Vikings were out rebounded by 13 and limited to 37.3 percent shooting.

“We played well, but the other thing that was a factor was them losing Misa Thursday night,” said Selvig. “You can maybe make up for that somewhat, but that would have been easier to do if we hadn’t gotten off to such a good start.”

It wasn’t just Cole that got the Lady Griz out to a big first-half lead. Montana’s other four starters shot nearly 50 percent, and Alycia Sims came off the bench to hit 4 of 7 shots and score nine first-half points.

With Montana playing so well and Portland State shorthanded, a second-half comeback was unlikely. The Lady Griz made sure of it by opening the second half on a 17-3 run to go up by 32, 65-33, when McCalle Feller drained a 3-pointer six minutes in.

The Lady Griz had the Vikings doubled up at 82-41 with nearly nine minutes still remaining, and that allowed Selvig to go deep into his bench. The reserves maintained the lead and the team’s high shooting percentage.

After shooting 50 percent in the first half, Montana improved to 54.5 in the second half to finish at 52.1 percent for the game.

The same team that shot 37.4 percent through nine nonconference games is shooting 52.1 percent in four Big Sky contests and averaging 85.8 points.

“Hopefully we can keep shooting the ball like we are,” said Selvig, whose team will face the Big Sky Conference’s last unbeaten when the Lady Griz play at North Dakota Thursday night.

Cole finished with 23 points, two off her career high, and was one of four players to finish in double figures.

Jordan Sullivan continued her fantastic recent play with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. She added a game-high nine rebounds and matched a career high with five assists.

Hill had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, Sims totaled 11 on 5-of-10 shooting, and Carly Selvig, who was denied the opportunity to go up against Misa in what would have been a fun head-to-head matchup, added three blocks.

Montana allowed Portland State to grab just five offensive rebounds and forced the Vikings, who were led by Emily Easom’s 21 points, into 18 turnovers.

The Lady Griz had just three turnovers in the first half and committed only 11 for the game, two days after committing just a dozen turnovers in an 81-64 victory over Eastern Washington on Thursday.

The win sets up a key early-season matchup for Thursday when Montana plays at unbeaten North Dakota (10-4, 5-0 BSC). The Lady Griz will enter that game tied for second after Sacramento State lost at home Saturday afternoon to Southern Utah, 97-79.

North Dakota finished off a road-trip sweep with an 83-72 victory at Weber State Saturday. In other league games, Montana State won at home over Eastern Washington, 78-74, and Northern Colorado won at Idaho State, 62-55.

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