(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
OMAHA, Neb. – Montana State tried to compensate for a poor first half with a late second half run, but it wasn’t enough as the Bobcats fell 64-53 to Omaha on Friday afternoon.
Montana State (2-2) came out shooting just 25 percent in the opening stanza and missed all seven 3-point attempts. The shooting woes continued in the second frame as the Mavericks took a 26-19 advantage at halftime. The Bobcats finished the first 20-minutes shooting 28 percent from the field, including 6.3 percent (1-16) from long distance.
“The blame is on ourselves,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We need to take some ownership in what we’re doing. We had lapses in focus and we need to find a way to get to a better place. We had too many mistakes. We’ll use this as a learning experience and move forward.”
Omaha (1-2) built a 40-26 lead with two-minutes left in the third quarter before back-to-back three-pointers by Rebekah Hatchard and Hannah Caudill chipped the deficit to eight points heading into the final period.
The Bobcats opened the final quarter with a Blaire Braxton free throw and a Madeline Smith layup to close to within five-points with 8:08 remaining. UNO’s Claire Killian stopped MSU’s 9-0 spurt with a three-pointer.
The Mavericks again pushed its lead into double digits, before MSU whittled the margin down to five-points at 49-44 on a Delany Junkermier basket at the 4:18 mark. Junkermier’s layup with 2:49 left kept the margin at five-points, but Omaha converted 10-of-12 free throws in the final two-minutes to secure the win.
The silver-lining for the Bobcats was the play of Smith. The product of Snohomish, Wash., posted her first career double-double with a team-high 18 points and 14 rebounds. MSU held a slim 41-39 margin under the boards, as sophomore Blaire Braxton notched double-figures with 10 rebounds.
Montana State finished the game shooting 34.5 percent from the field, 14.8 percent from 3-point range and made just nine-of-16 attempts from the free throw line, while committing 15 turnovers.
Montana State will host MSU Billings on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. in Worthington Arena.