Montana State Sports Information release
BOZEMAN — It took an extra period but the Montana State women’s basketball team kept its home court win streak alive with a 59-54 overtime victory over Stephen F. Austin, Saturday afternoon in front of 1,371 fans in Worthington Arena.
MSU’s home win streak improves to 29 games, second only to national power UConn (69).
The two teams played even for the first 40-minutes. Montana State (6-4) hit back-to-back three-pointers to open overtime and never relinquished its advantage.
Sophomore Oliana Squires struck first draining a deep triple as the shot clock expired. Two minutes later senior Hannah Caudill connected on a 3-pointer from the top to push MSU’s margin to six points. Delany Junkermier then converted one-of-two free throws to give the Bobcats a seven-point cushion with 2:22 left.
Stephen F. Austin (6-3) was able to whittle the lead to 56-53 with 16-seconds remaining, but MSU was able to secure the win going three-of-four from the line in the final ten-seconds.
“We never got into an offensive flow based on what Stephen F. Austin was doing to us,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “However, we stepped-up and found a way to get it done with our defense and that’s kind of what this team has been doing. We’ve been grinding it out.”
Squires paced MSU on the offensive end with a career-high 20 points and a career-best six three-pointers. It mark the second straight week for Squires hitting a career-high. The product of Colorado Spring, Colo., connected on two triples in the opening 20-minutes and went four-of-seven from long distance when MSU needed it the most.
“Oliana shot the ball super well,” Binford said. “And, she hit a big time shot late in the shot clock. She was able to find the gaps and the openings.”
Also in double figures for MSU were Madeline Smith and Laura Pranger with ten points, apiece. For the game, the Bobcats shot 28.6 percent from the field, but connected on nine 3-pointers and went 14-17 from the line. The MSU defense held the Ladyjacks to 35 percent, including an icy 6.3 percent (1-16) from beyond the 3-point arc.
MSU won the battle of the boards owning a 48-42 advantage under the glass. Smith paced the Cats with 12 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season. Senior Delany Junkermier also guided Montana State with a career-high 11 rebounds.
“I told our kids that a sign of really good teams is when you are struggling on one end the floor you still find ways to get it done,” Binford said. “Stephen F. Austin has such good action they can really spread you out and put you in a tough bind. I thought defensively we made them score over us and that is something we’ve been known to do well is just to find ways to be in rebounding position and make them earn the shots they get.”
SFA was led by three players – Stevi Parker, Imani Johnson, Chanell Hayes- with nine points, apiece.
MSU will take next week off for finals and will play its final non-conference game at BYU on Dec. 22.