Lady Griz Win 64-60, Complete Two-Game Road Sweep


Kayleigh Valley scored 16 points in the second half, a career-high 26 for the game, to lead Montana to a 64-60 victory over Weber State Saturday afternoon at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah.

The Lady Griz (19-7, 12-3 BSC) broke away from a 35-35 deadlock early in the second half and led the final 16 minutes, though never by a comfortable margin, to complete a road-trip sweep that began Thursday with a 69-51 victory at Idaho State.

Montana has won four of its last five, its only loss a 52-51 heartbreaker at home last Saturday to Northern Colorado.

“This is a really good win and a pretty good road trip,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “To bounce back from the way we lost to Northern Colorado and get two wins against two pretty good teams, I’m proud of the ladies.”

Montana is 4-1 on its last five trips to Weber State, but none of the wins have come easily. The trend continued Saturday.

Weber State, which opened the game with three missed shots and a pair of turnovers, spotted Montana a 5-0 lead. The Wildcats then quickly got back into the game. They hit seven of their next eight shots and built a 20-16 lead midway through the half.

“Your worst fear with them is that they come out and make shots, because their big weakness is they sometimes can’t score,” said Selvig, whose team held the Wildcats to 25.0 percent shooting in the teams’ first meeting at Missoula, a 53-43 Lady Griz victory.

“They hit two threes early. They were hitting some inside shots. They were shooting it well, and we were having a hard time stopping them. We let them get going.”

Fortunately Montana was shooting it nearly as well. Kellie Rubel scored 12 early points, and her lay-in with eight minutes left put the Lady Griz up 21-20.

Montana held Weber State to just three baskets the final 10 minutes of the half and took a 33-28 lead to the locker room. The Lady Griz shot 42.4 percent the first half, and that was with a 3-for-12 performance from the 3-point line.

“Fortunately we played really well offensively,” said Selvig. “Had we shot the three a little better, we would have gotten away from them. We had a whole bunch of good-look threes.”

Weber State scored seven of the first nine points to start the second half to tie it at 35, and that’s when Valley put her stamp on the game. She averaged a point per minute over the final 16 to deliver the victory for Montana.

Her 16 second-half points came on just five made field goals — she also got to the line nine times — and all seemed to come from her countering Weber State’s switching defense with heady, physical, off-the-ball moves to the basket.

“They were switching everything, so Kayleigh figured out what to do when they switch off you,” said Selvig. “She sealed her defender, asked for the ball, caught it and scored it.”

After Weber State tied it early in the second half, Valley scored four of Montana’s points in a 6-0 run that put the Lady Griz up for good, 41-35.

The lead never got above nine, and four times Weber State made it a single-possession game.

While Valley was scoring steadily, the half’s biggest shots came from McCalle Feller. Her jumper at the 8:30 mark upped a 46-44 lead to 48-44, and her 3-pointer from the right wing made it 51-45. She later converted a fast-break and-one with just under four minutes to go to make it 57-50.

McCalle had a stretch when she wasn’t making any shots today, but she really doesn’t have a conscience,” said Selvig, which he meant as a compliment. “She just doesn’t lose confidence, and you need someone shooting who thinks they’re going to make it.”

Montana missed three free throws in the final minute, but Weber State would get no closer than the four-point final margin.

Valley’s 26 points surpassed her previous career high of 23, which she scored against Austin Peay in the championship game of the Lady Griz Classic. Rubel, who played all 40 minutes, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, her second career double-double.

Feller added 13 points, and Maggie Rickman had 10 rebounds and five assists, as Selvig relied heavily on his starting five in a tight game. Four of the team’s starters played at least 33 minutes.

“We didn’t go as deep tonight,” he explained. “It was just the nature of the game. They are hard to guard, and I thought we were playing well offensively.”

Montana shot 41.0 percent and turned the ball over just 10 times, a nine giveaway improvement from the teams’ first meeting.

Carlee Lough led Weber State with 18 points. Jalen Carpenter had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The win keeps Montana atop the Big Sky Conference standings with two weeks of regular-season games remaining.

Eastern Washington (17-8, 10-4 BSC), which won its sixth straight game Saturday, is in second and plays at Montana next Saturday afternoon. Sacramento State (12-14, 10-5 BSC), which picked up a big road win at North Dakota Saturday, is in third place.

Montana will host Idaho (12-13, 6-8 BSC) Thursday night and the Eagles next Saturday. The Lady Griz close the regular season at Montana State (12-14, 6-9 BSC) on Saturday, March 7.


Montana Sports Information