A Double Dose of “W” for UM Hoops

By BILL SCHWANKE

LADY GRIZ 61, IDAHO STATE 54

Last team to 10 field goals wins.

This game not only got hit by the ugly stick, the stick hit every branch.

How does a team take more than 30 minutes to hit its 10th field goal and shoot 26 percent for the game and still win?

All of these are appropriate statements or questions for Thursday night’s Big Sky Conference women’s match-up between the Montana Lady Griz and the Idaho State Bengals.

Montana spent much of the first half under 20 percent field goal shooting and still managed to be within 10 of the Bengals at halftime. That was due in large part to defense. After watching ISU light it up from the floor for the first few minutes and take an early 13-point lead the lady Griz put the clamps on and started to whittle away.

Rebounding was another huge factor in Montana’s favor. Led by Katie Baker’s 19 boards the Lady Griz enjoyed a 50-36 edge in rebounding including a 21-10 bulge on the offensive boards.

The Lady Griz got to the line a bunch against the aggressive Bengals and hit 27 of 35 free throws. ISU got 13 charity tosses and hit 12.

Turnovers came in bunches to the tune of 20 for Idaho State and 17 for Montana.

Baker had one of the strangest double-doubles you’ll ever see. She didn’t make a field goal in eight tries by hit 10 of 10 free throws.

Stephanie Stender provided a spark in the second half and wound up with 16 points. Kenzie DeBoer joined Baker and Stender in double figures with 10 despite a horrible shooting night

The Lady Griz got solid help off the bench from Jordan Sullivan, Jessa Loman Linford and Torrey Hill, the latter the only Montana player to shoot a decent percentage from the floor (two for three including a pair of treys).

One has to wonder if the Bengals simply ran out of gas. This was their third road game out of four straight that will stretch from Jan. 15 in Sacramento to Jan. 24 in Bozeman, with not return to Pocatello during that time. That has to be tough.

Makes you wonder who oversees scheduling in the Big Sky – Curley, Larry or Moe.

Next up for the Lady Griz, a Saturday afternoon date at Dahlberg against Montana State, undefeated in league play and atop the conference standings heading into this weekend.

GRIZ 75, IDAHO STATE 65

This one is tough for me to comment on since I didn’t see it in person and then left my headset radio on the table next to my car keys when I left to watch the women’s game.

Suffice it to say that any win in Pocatello – especially a 10-point win – is a good one.

Brian Qvale got another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. His three blocked shots put him in sole possession of first place all time in both UM and Big Sky Conference annals. BQ will just continue to build on that record during his senior season.

Art Steward continued his torrid play since replacing the injured Kareem Jamar in the starting line-up, cashing in with 15 points. Will Cherry had 14 to go with five assists and three steals, and Derek Selvig contributed 10 points, five boards and four assists.

With Montana State coming to town Saturday night with a few days rest minutes played Thursday night could be problematic for the Griz. Thursday night at Pocatello Cherry played 39 minutes, Selvig and Qvale 35 each, and Steward and Shawn Stockton 33 apiece. Only three subs saw action.

The win over ISU put Montana at 14-5 overall this season, 6-1 in Big Sky play. Not bad for a team with seven new players and a couple of key ones out with injuries. Back to UM Hoops home page.

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“Grizzly Bill” Schwanke is a UM journalism grad and Missoula native.  He spent 21 years doing play-by-play for Griz football and men’s basketball winning sportscaster of the year six times and working in Grizzly athletics for 15 years total. He’s enjoying retirement, especially the chance to spend time with his three grandsons. His wife Lynn and he have been married for 42years.