Lady Griz Drop Final Nonconference Game


Wyoming scored 47 second-half points and broke free from a 40-40 deadlock with a decisive 12-0 run to post a 79-65 victory over the Montana women’s basketball team Tuesday night at Laramie, Wyo.

The loss sends the Lady Griz (6-3), who fell to Temple on Saturday, into Christmas break on their first two-game losing streak since the end of the 2011-12 season. Montana does not play again until opening Big Sky Conference play at Northern Arizona on Jan. 2.

Wyoming, which shot 46.8 percent and committed just four turnovers in the game, improved to 8-2.

The Cowgirls led 32-30 at the half, and the game was knotted at 40 five minutes into the second half. That’s when Kayla Woodward, the Mountain West Conference preseason player of the year, who finished with a 23-point, 12-rebound double-double, put her stamp on the game.

The junior forward scored the game’s next 12 points on a pair of 3-pointers, two jumpers and two free throws to make it 52-40, and that opened the offensive floodgates for Wyoming, which shot 57.7 percent in the second half.

“We just didn’t guard them in the second half,” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “This is a good team, so we weren’t going to keep them from getting going, but we didn’t need to give up 47.

“They were passing and cutting, and we were losing them. And of course Woodward got away from us.”

Montana, which had a season-low seven turnovers in the game, shot 40.6 percent in the second half, and that, relative to Wyoming’s hot shooting, kept the Lady Griz from mounting a serious comeback bid.

Montana twice cut the lead to six down the stretch, but Woodward’s 17 second-half points and the Cowgirls’ 15 second-half points from the line were too much to overcome.

“It wasn’t a lot of fun to watch them score that fast. We didn’t get that part of it done tonight,” Selvig said. “But it wasn’t a bad effort on our part. We hung in and had a chance all the way down to two minutes, but we couldn’t get it under six.”

Montana led 13-6 early on and could have put itself in even more control, but 29.7-percent first-half shooting for the Lady Griz and an 11-0 burst for Wyoming allowed the Cowgirls to get back into it.

“We did a nice job on them in the first half,” Selvig said, “but I don’t know how many good, easy shots we can miss in a half. We could have had a 10-point lead at the half. We were getting great shots, but we were stuck in that 30-percent range.”

Montana made shots early in the second half, but it wouldn’t last. Redshirt junior Kellie Cole opened the half with a three to give the Lady Griz the lead, and five different players scored in the opening minutes to keep Montana close.

But after freshman Alycia Sims evened the score at 40, Woodward went off and the Lady Griz went more than four minutes without a field goal.

“I really feel like we could have come in here and won,” Selvig said. “But we needed people to step up and make shots.”

Cole led Montana with 13 points, her fifth time in double figures in nine games this season. Sullivan added 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, while Hill totaled 11 points and 5 assists.

Sims had nine points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

Wyoming finished with a 46-40 rebounding advantage and had 21 assists and just four turnovers.