Lady Griz Play Like Veterans, Win Big at Idaho

By UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION

This time there would be no Memorial Gym magic. The Montana women’s basketball team jumped out to a 39-23 halftime lead and rolled to a 71-50 win over Idaho Sunday afternoon at Moscow, Idaho. (See UM vs. Idaho Box Score and FINALSTATS)

Idaho’s venerable gym witnessed an 18-point, second-half comeback by the Portland women Friday night and a 15-point, second-half rally by the Montana men Saturday night. After building their lead Sunday, the Lady Griz led by at least 10 the entire second half to win their second straight game and improve to 2-1.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled. This is a really good win. To be able to get away from somebody on the road is a really nice win for us,” UM coach Robin Selvig said.

Starting five experienced upperclassmen, Montana played like a veteran road team Sunday. The Lady Griz shot 51.5 percent and turned the ball over just six times in the first half and used their bench to seamlessly cover for a starter in early foul trouble.

Junior Torry Hill sparked the Lady Griz early, with 10 points that stretched a 9-8 lead into a 24-14 advantage. She hit six of her nine first-half shots, including three from 3-point range, and had 15 points by the break.

And she did it while playing all 20 minutes because of foul trouble for senior Kenzie De Boer, who was only on the court for six minutes in the first half.

Sophomore Kellie Cole played a key role in UM’s win over Idaho. Photo by AustinSmith.

With freshman Shanae Gilham (knee) out for the next few weeks with an injury, it was sophomore Kellie Cole who was called upon, and she stepped up and ran the backcourt in the first half with Hill.

Cole had seven first-half points and added four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

“Kellie gave us a huge lift in the first half. She scored, she defended, and she passed,” Selvig said. “She hasn’t been at the two as much this year, but Kellie and Torry were a good combo out there today.

“Torry had a really big first half, and the whole team shot the heck out of it. And we played really good defense.”

Montana limited Idaho to seven first-half baskets on 28.0 percent shooting, and the only reason the Vandals were within 16 at the break was because they got to the line 12 times to UM’s two.

Out of the break, the Lady Griz made sure there would not be a third double-digit comeback in three days.

After Idaho had closed to within 10, 41-31, in the opening minutes of the second half, De Boer’s six points sparked a 10-0 run that put Montana up 51-31 with 11 minutes to go.

The Vandals would twice more trim their deficit to 10, but each time Montana had the answer, with De Boer and senior Katie Baker combining to score 17 of UM’s 32 second-half points.

The Lady Griz defense was even stingier in the second half than it was in the first. Idaho shot just 26.9 percent (7 for 26) over the final 20 minutes, 27.5 percent (14 for 51) for the game.

“Idaho played some zone and man and got after us pretty good defensively in the second half, but we were patient,” Selvig said. “But it was our defense for the total game that was the key, because they never really did get anything going.”

Hill ended up with a game-high 19 points to match a career high. She also dished out a game-high three assists while playing 36 minutes.

Cole continued to pad her stat line in the second half and finished with nine points, six rebounds, five steals and a pair of assists in 23 minutes.

Baker scored 14 points and added a game-high nine rebounds and three blocks. De Boer totaled 11 points on solid 5-of-11 shooting.

One of the big reasons for Portland’s comeback Friday against Idaho was the Pilots’ work on the boards. UP finished with a 60-44 advantage on the glass and turned 20 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points.

“(Idaho coach Jon Newlee was talking) about getting out-physicaled (Friday), and it looked to me like they were going to make a point today that they are a physical team,” Selvig said.

The teams were mostly even (19-16) on the boards through the first half. Montana had 29-19 second-half advantage, including 12 on the offensive end that helped cover up for 30.3 percent second-half shooting and 11 second-half turnovers.

The Lady Griz finished with a 48-35 advantage for the game and are +27 their last two games after getting outrebounded by Temple by 17 in Montana’s season-opening loss.

“We withstood the challenge and ended up wearing them out on the boards pretty good,” Selvig said.

Stacey Barr led Idaho, which dropped to 0-4, with 10 points. She was the only Vandal to reach double figures.

Montana will put its newfound road confidence to a stern test next weekend at UNLV’s Lady Rebel Round-Up at Las Vegas. The Lady Griz will face the host Lady Rebels next Saturday afternoon and either Villanova or Bowling Green on Sunday in either the consolation or championship game.

See Lady Griz season cumulative stats. This week in Griz Sports Schedules andWins-Losses.

Montana Sports Information  —  GoGriz.com