One That Got Away

By BILL SCHWANKE

PORTLAND STATE 53, LADY GRIZ 47

It was another one that got away from the Montana Lady Griz.

In fact, it got away from them twice, but they got it back after the first time.

It took the Lady Griz 7 1/2 minutes to score at the start of the first half, but fortunately they dug in on defense and trailed only 9-0 before freshman Lexie Nelson hit a three-pointer.

About 13 minutes later, at halftime, Montana actually led 20-19.

The Lady Griz got off to a good start in the second half and extended their lead to 28-21 as this time the Vikings couldn’t score for over five minutes.

Kelly Marchant’s three-ball with 7:27 to go in the game knotted the score at 40-40. The last tie of the game was 42-42 at the 4:39 mark and PSU took over from there, outscoring the Lady Griz 11-5 down the stretch.

Poor shooting again plagued Montana, which only turned the ball over four more times than the home team (14-10) and badly outrebounded the Vikings 45-33.

Montana shot just 33 percent from the field to 38 percent for the winners. The Lady Griz managed to make just one of eight from three-point range while PSU hit 5 of 20.

Portland State played the game without standout point guard Courtney VanBrocklin, suspended for one game for breaking team rules, and it seemed to show, especially for the first 30 minutes of the game.

Montana was without freshman point guard Torry Hill, who broke her ankle in practice late last week, and could have used her long-range shooting.

Katie Baker led Montana in scoring with 14, the only Lady Griz in double figures. Top rebounders for UM were Kenzie DeBoer, Jordan Sullivan and Jessa Loman Linford with nine, seven and seven.

It marked Montana’s third loss in a row with one conference game remaining Saturday afternoon at Eastern Washington, a 62-46 loser to Montana State Thursday night. It also marked Portland State’s fifth straight victory over the Lady Griz.

The Lady Griz proved during a six-game winning streak that if they shoot the ball decently, they can win and stay with any team in the league.

They’ve proven again over the latest three outings that if you shoot poorly, you can lose to any team in the league. Once again there were far too many easy shots missed, something that has plagued this year’s Lady Griz team for much of the 2010-11 season.

Montana will be in the Big Sky tournament for sure. How the Lady Griz fare, wherever the tourney takes place, will depend on making those easy shots and in general scoring the ball while continuing to play solid defense and hitting the boards.

If they can’t do those things, it could very well be one and out come tournament time.

I’d love to hear your comments on what I’m talking about or answer any questions you might have. So have at it. I’m way beyond having my feelings hurt. And thanks for reading me. Back to Griz and Lady Griz Hoops blog 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.