Lady Griz Win 69-55 at Portland


After seven games of nondescript play, the Montana women’s basketball team finally has its signature win of the 2014-15 season.

Kellie Rubel scored a season-high 24 points, Carly Selvig blocked a career-high eight shots, and the Lady Griz put together a dominating second half to win 69-55 over Portland Sunday afternoon at UP’s Chiles Center.

Montana (4-4) trailed by eight early in the second half but held the Pilots (2-7), who whipped Portland State 91-63 on Friday night, to a single field goal over a 14-minute stretch. Selvig, who came within two of the Montana single-game record, blocked six of her shots in the second half.

On the other end, Montana shot 48.1 percent in the second half and outscored Portland by 22 points the final 18 minutes. The Lady Griz went 15 for 17 from the line the second half and led by at least 10 points the final seven minutes.

Kellie Cole

Kellie Cole Rubel

“This is a great, great win for us,” said Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig. “You want to have confidence that you can go beat a good team on the road, and we hadn’t had a game like that. This gives us confidence that we can.

“Shooting 48 percent in the second half, outrebounding a team by 15, those are the type of things you want to see that your team can do.”

Getting open looks at will early on against Portland’s passive zone defense, Montana used hot shooting from 3-point range to build an early 11-point lead. The Lady Griz scored their first 15 points from the 3-point line, with Rubel connecting three times.

The game changed midway through the first half when Rubel picked up her third foul and Montana leading 19-14. The point guard would not play the final 9:26, and Portland employed full-court pressure in response.

Montana, which looked out of sorts even after breaking the pressure, scored just one basket the final eight minutes of the half, and Portland built a 32-27 halftime lead.

“We played well the first half, but it felt like we went 10 minutes without making a shot,” said Selvig. “Kellie was having a big night, but after she went out, we needed to have more than just her making shots.”

Rubel had 13 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting. The rest of the team: 5 for 29.

Cassandra Brown, who reached 1,000 career points in Friday’s win over the Vikings, put Portland up 35-27 in the opening minute of the second half, and Sara Zaragoza made it 37-29 when she scored inside at the 18:04 mark.

The Pilots would score just a single basket the next 14:34 and go without another point in the paint until the 2:08 mark. When Selvig wasn’t blocking shots, she was changing them. And her team-high 10 rebounds were a season high and just one off her career high.

Carly was a force on defense and really changed things around the basket,” said Selvig, whose team limited Brown to just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

“They got nothing around the basket. They kept trying to go inside, but they weren’t getting much done. It was a good win because everybody did a good job on defense.”

Back-to-back baskets by Kayleigh Valley, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, gave Montana its first lead of the second half, 38-37, and Selvig put the Lady Griz up for good, 44-42.

But the game was still hanging in the balance until an unexpected player put Montana in control.

Rachel Staudacher had scored 10 points for the season entering Sunday’s game. In less than two minutes she scored seven straight points to push Montana’s advantage to eight, 51-43. Two free throws by McCalle Feller made it 53-43, and the lead remained at least 10 the rest of the game.

Rachel came in and gave us a huge lift,” said Selvig. “She made some shots around the basket and didn’t try to do things she can’t do.”

Montana outrebounded Portland, which was +20 on the boards against Portland State two days earlier, 51-36. Nineteen of those rebounds came on the offensive end, and they allowed the Lady Griz to score 22 second-chance points, 15 more than the Pilots.

Combined with the team’s 13 blocks, which give Montana 33 in its last three games, the Lady Griz beat down a Division I opponent for the first time this season.

“We were the aggressor. We were stronger, and down the stretch we were just in command,” said Selvig.

Rubel played all 20 minutes in the second half and added six rebounds and five assists to her 24 points, 11 of which came from the free throw line, all in the second half.

Feller added 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Staudacher’s nine points were a career high, as were Maggie Rickman’s four blocks. Her nine rebounds matched a career high.

Kari Luttinen led Portland with 16 points. Cassandra Thompson added 11 points and nine rebounds

Montana will remain on the road and play at Seattle on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (MT). The Redhawks, who lost 67-56 at home to San Francisco Sunday, are 2-7.


Montana Sports Information