Lady Griz Win Fifth Straight With Second-Half Rally over PSU


Montana shot 62.5 percent in the second half to rally from an eight-point halftime deficit and post a 65-55 victory at Portland State Thursday night at PSU’s Stott Center.

The victory kept the Lady Griz (14-6, 8-3 BSC), who have won five straight games, alone in second place in the Big Sky Conference standings, one in the loss column behind league leader North Dakota and one game up on Sacramento State and Idaho State.

After watching the Vikings shoot 50 percent in the first half, grab 18 rebounds to his team’s eight and take a 33-25 lead to the locker room, Montana coach Robin Selvig made the switch from man-to-man defense to zone for the second half, and that decision changed the game.

The Vikings shot 37.5 percent in the second half and scored just six points in the paint as Montana outscored the home team 40-22 over the final 20 minutes.

Junior Carly Selvig matched a career high with six blocks Thursday, giving her 26 over the last six games.

“They were doing a nice job in the first half,” Selvig said of the Vikings. “They were running a lot of movement and doing some nice things. They got comfortable and shot good threes.

“The zone was definitely better for us. Carly in the middle of that thing was an empty hole for them. They couldn’t shoot over her. She got six blocks but it felt like 10. They didn’t know what to do, because they couldn’t get any inside action.”

But Montana still needed to get its offense on track after its lowest-scoring first half since November. The Lady Griz shot a decent percentage for the half of 41.7, but Portland State had an 18-8 advantage on the boards, including seven offensive rebounds that led to seven second-chance points.

Junior Maggie Rickman scored five quick points early in the second half, her only points of the game, and Montana opened the half on a 12-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by junior Kellie Cole that gave the Lady Griz a 37-33 lead.

Portland State would retake the lead midway through the half, but an 8-0 run, with six of the points coming from Cole, gave Montana, which defeated the Vikings 94-58 last month in Missoula, a lead it would hold the final 10:07.

“After struggling in the first half and playing poorly and having a hard time guarding them, we found a way to get it going the second half,” said Selvig, whose team improved to 2-3 in Big Sky road games.

“This is a great win for us. We’re on the road against a team that we beat badly the first time, but they aren’t a bad team. They get a good first-half start, they are feeling good about themselves, and we’re not scoring.

Cole had 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first matchup against the Vikings. She did nearly as much damage on Thursday, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

Senior Torry Hill, who was held without a 3-pointer for the first time this season, added 11 points, 7 assists and 3 steals. Selvig had 8 points, 6 blocks and 3 assists.

Montana’s bench contributed 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, leading Selvig to conclude, “We got good minutes out of everyone again.”

The Lady Griz had just 10 turnovers for the second straight game and were +4 on the boards in the second half.

Mikaela Rivard and Allie Brock both led Portland State with 11 points. Brock added 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Montana can now turn its attention to an important matchup against Eastern Washington (10-10, 6-5 BSC), the Big Sky Conference preseason favorite which whipped Montana State Thursday night 81-66.

The Lady Griz and Eagles will tip off Saturday at 3 p.m. (MT) at EWU’s Reese Court. Montana won the first meeting in Missoula 81-64.

In other league games Thursday night, North Dakota won 68-55 at home over Weber State, Sacramento State won 99-91 at Northern Arizona, and Idaho State won 79-71 at Northern Colorado.