Lady Griz Roll On, Move Into First Place

By JOEL CARLSON

McCalle Feller hit seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points to help Montana roll to an easy 72-31 victory over a depleted Portland State team Thursday night at Dahlberg Arena.

The Lady Griz (14-5, 7-1 BSC) extended their winning streak to six games and moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Sky Conference with the victory.

Montana was expected to win Thursday, and Feller and the Lady Griz removed any doubt in the opening minutes.

Facing a zone that was employed to protect Portland State’s seven uniformed players from fouls, Montana dissected the Vikings’ defense with sharp passing and consistently found open shooters.

The Lady Griz would finish the night with 20 assists on 29 baskets and shoot 51.8 percent.

“It gets to be a lot easier game when you’re knocking down shots,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “We were patient and moved the ball to get good shots. We didn’t just fire it up there.”

Maggie Rickman hit a pair of jumpers from the short corner in the opening minute, then Feller got to work. She hit three three-pointers in less than a minute and added a jumper to make it 15-2.

Feller’s fourth three-pointer of the opening six minutes made it 20-2, and an Alycia Sims basket at the 12:56 mark made it 22-2. At the other end, Portland State missed 13 of its first 14 shots.

“Unless they got off to a good start, I thought we were going to be in pretty good shape,” said Selvig. “My whole deal was, don’t let them get any easy buckets early. It’s hard to get going if you’re not scoring, and they didn’t score at all early on.”

After building a quick 20-point lead, Montana would be stuck on 22 for five minutes. A three-pointer by Hannah Doran ended the scoreless streak, and the Lady Griz held a 38-18 halftime lead.

Feller had 17 by the half on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. She also added three of her career-high four blocks in the first half. A one-woman wrecking ball on both ends of the floor.

McCalle has consistently been shooting a good percentage, and tonight she definitely had it going,” said Selvig. “But she also did some other things. We’re working on getting her to change shots, and she got into some tonight.”

Without its starting point guard and facing one of the nation’s top defensive teams, the Vikings struggled to ever get anything going offensively.

cornholeThey went 7 for 29 (.241) in the first half, 6 for 29 (.207) in the second and finished the game at 22.4percent.

It marked the fifth time in six games that Montana’s opponent has shot below 30 percent. The effort dropped UM’s season field goal percentage defense to .317.

Emily Easom led Portland State (3-17, 1-8 BSC) with 10 points, but they came on 4-of-16 shooting.

Rickman hit five of her seven shots and added 11 points for Montana. Kayleigh Valley had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Haley Vining dished out a career-high five assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

Montana can maintain its spot atop the Big Sky Saturday when it hosts Sacramento State (9-11, 7-2 BSC) at 2 p.m. The Hornets were atop the league standings before falling 91-64 at Montana State (8-11, 2-6 BSC) Thursday.

In other league games Thursday, North Dakota (14-6, 6-2 BSC) won 57-54 at Weber State (8-12, 3-6 BSC), and Idaho State (10-10, 5-4 BSC) won 70-61 at home over Northern Colorado (10-9, 4-4 BSC).

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