Lady Griz Top Wildcats (Photo Gallery)

By JOEL CARLSON | Photos by WILLIAM MUNOZ
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Montana shot in the low 30s but defended and rebounded well enough to pull out another win. But when that formula has led to seven wins in eight games, why worry about the method?

The Lady Griz (9-5, 2-1 BSC) shot just 34 percent Thursday night, but they held Weber State (5-9, 0-3 BSC) to 25 percent shooting and were +11 on the boards in posting a 53-43 victory over the Wildcats at Dahlberg Arena in a game marred by 37 fouls and a number of lengthy official delays.

Kellie Rubel scored her 1,000th career point in the first two minutes and led both teams with 16 points, but her stat line was a reflection of her team: 16 points, six rebounds, three assists but 4-of-16 shooting.

“It’s like pulling teeth right now, and that’s what it’s going to be for us if we’re not getting a lot of shots down,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “We rebounded well, we defended well, we shot not so well.”

Kellie Cole Rubel

Kellie Cole Rubel became the 31st Lady Griz to score over 1,000 points in her career.

It was the seventh straight game Montana has shot below 40 percent, but for the sixth time in eight games the Lady Griz held an opponent to a shooting percentage below 33 percent. Weber State went just 15 for 60.

Montana jumped out to an early 8-0 lead in the opening four minutes, but that was the extent of the team’s offensive highlights in the first half.

The Lady Griz turned it over 13 times, more than the team’s per-game average of 12.6, in the opening 20 minutes, and that allowed Weber State to come back and grab a pair of late leads before Montana took a 23-21 lead to the locker room.

“The biggest disappointment tonight was we had 13 turnovers at half. That’s what we average for a game,” said Selvig. “But they are quick and a good defensive team, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

“Luckily we were defending them and we boarded it, so we still had the lead at half.”

The game remained tight through the opening eight minutes of the second half until the Lady Griz finally got the scoring run they needed to pull away.

A pair of free throws by Rubel, a jumper in the paint by Carly Selvig and a 3-pointer by Kayleigh Valley made it 42-31 and gave Montana its first double-digit lead of the game. The lead would reach 50-32 on a 3-pointer by McCalle Feller with 6:54 to play.

The Lady Griz went without a field goal the rest of the game but did enough work on the defensive end that Weber did not get closer than nine down the stretch.

Montana turned it over just six times in the second half while holding Weber State to 20.7 percent shooting.

“We defended well the whole night and put one run together,” said Selvig. “We finally put a run together where we scored two, three in a row and went up 10 or 11, and we were fine after that.

“The second half we got it together a little better, and they never really put a run together.”

Jalen Carpenter had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Wildcats, but she didn’t get much help. Her teammates went 9 for 45. That included Regina Okoye, the team’s second-leading scorer who finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Okoye’s quiet offensive night was determined early, when she twice challenged Selvig in the paint in the opening 90 seconds. Both times Selvig, who finished with five rejections, blocked Okoye, and Selvig got another one against Brittney Dunbar before the game was three minutes old.

Selvig had just two blocks the final 37 minutes, but her dominating start meant she was changing shots from start to finish and big reason the Wildcats shot 25 percent.

With his team finally getting something going, Selvig used just one bench player in the second half. Rubel, Selvig and Valley each played all 20 minutes of the second frame.

Carly was such a force inside and was able to play strong, so we just kept her out there the entire second half,” said Selvig, whose niece played a career-high 34 minutes.

Selvig, Feller and Valley each scored eight points, Maggie Rickman added seven and matched her career high with 15 rebounds.

Montana got just six points from its bench in limited minutes on a pair of Hannah Doran 3-pointers. Doran’s 3-pointer late in the first half gave Montana a lead it would take to the locker room. Her second triple helped the Lady Griz break free midway through the second half.

Montana will host Idaho State (7-7, 2-1 BSC) Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bengals won at Montana State (6-8, 0-3 BSC) Thursday night 65-62.

In other league games Thursday, Northern Colorado (8-6, 2-1 BSC) won at Portland State (2-12, 0-3 BSC) 68-54 behind Stephanie Lee’s 31 points, and Sacramento State (4-10, 2-1 BSC) won at home over North Dakota (10-5, 2-1 BSC) 93-86.

Montana Sports Information

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