Bison Hand Lady Griz First Loss of the Season

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

The Montana women’s basketball lost for the first time this season when the Lady Griz fell to North Dakota State 70-53 Friday afternoon in the opening game of Loyola Marymount’s DoubleTree Los Angeles Westside Thanksgiving Classic.

Montana (3-1), which shot 30.8 percent and got outrebounded by 13, fell behind 35-28 at the half and never held a second-half lead. The Bison (2-4), who were led by Brooke Lemar’s 21 points, snapped a four-game losing streak.

Montana shot 49.2 percent Wednesday night in its 84-58 victory at Denver and opened just as hot two days later.

The Lady Griz hit five of their first 10 shots, including 3-pointers from Kellie Cole and Torry Hill, to go up 14-7 in the opening five minutes, but just four points over the next eight minutes allowed NDSU to catch up and build what would become an 11-point first-half lead.  (SEE GAME STATS –PDF)

Back-to-back threes in the final two minutes from Hill, who scored 13 first-half points, allowed Montana to pull to within seven at the break.

Montana had its chances in the second half, but 28.6 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes and North Dakota State’s rebounding were too much to overcome.

Cole pulled the Lady Griz within two, 35-33, with five points in the opening two minutes of the second half, and back-to-back triples from Cole and sophomore McCalle Feller kept the deficit at 45-43.

After freshman Kayleigh Valley brought Montana within four, 50-46, with her only basket of the game at the 9:36 mark, the Bison delivered the knockout blow with a 12-3 run over the next four minutes that pushed the lead to 13 points, 62-49.

The lead remained in double figures the final 6:07.

“That’s a game that in the last 10 minutes had we put shots together and made any sort of run, we could have been there until the end and had a great opportunity to win,” UM coach Robin Selvig said.

“We end up shooting 30 percent for the game, and you’re not going to beat a team like North Dakota State that way.”

The Lady Griz maybe could have overcome their cold shooting had they kept the Bison off the offensive boards. NDSU grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and turned those into 21 critical second-chance points.

“We did not do a good job on the boards,” Selvig said. “They were bigger and stronger to the ball.”

Hill, who added a game-high six assists, and Cole, who went 3 for 4 from 3-point range and grabbed eight rebounds, combined to score 35 of Montana’s 53 points.

The team’s post players — Jordan Sullivan, Carly Selvig and Alycia Sims — went just 4 for 22, and the bench that scored 39 points Wednesday added just five on Friday on 2-of-10 shooting.

“We were really bad around the basket,” Selvig said. “Our post kids just couldn’t make a shot. We got the ball in great position to score, but we couldn’t get them down.

“And they had kids make shots that they needed to make.”

Montana will face Loyola Marymount (1-5) in the tournament’s consolation game Saturday at 2 p.m. (MT). The Lions fell to UC Irvine Friday afternoon, 63-60.

Montana Sports Information