(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)

PROVO, U.T. – The season of giving had a different meaning for the Montana State women’s basketball squad on Friday afternoon. The Bobcats coughed the ball up 22 times, which led to 26 points by Brigham Young, as the Cougars cruised to a 75-54 victory over MSU in the Marriott Center.

“We got out to a nice start and committed just three turnovers in the first quarter,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We gave up eight turnovers in the second quarter and they turned up the pressure and we weren’t able to handle it.”

Trailing 26-21 with 5:09 left in the opening half, BYU (5-6) used an 8-0 run to close out the frame to take a three-point advantage into intermission.

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The Cougars opened the second half with a 13-5 stretch and outscored Montana State (6-5) 27-13 in the third period. BYU shot 61 percent from the field in the final twenty-minutes to secure the victory.

“We’ve got to get some things figured out by next Thursday,” Binford said. “We’re not practicing at a level where we need to be, and that showed in our performance (today).”

The Bobcats led 15-13 after the opening frame as senior Hannah Caudill nailed back-to-back three-pointers. The Cats built its largest lead at 20-13 in the second quarter as Oliana Squires connected on a triple from the right baseline. Following a Delany Junkermier 3-pointer at the 5:09 mark the Bobcats went cold from the field missing on all seven attempts, while committing four turnovers.

Caudill guided three Bobcats in double-figures with 12 points, all coming from beyond the three-point line. Squires finished with 11 points and six rebounds, while Junkermier notched 10 points.

MSU out-rebounded BYU 37-36 as sophomore Madeline Smith pulled down a game-high 11 boards. It was the fifth double-digit rebounding game of the year for the product of Snohomish, Wash. Smith also finished with a career-high five assists.

BYU was paced by the reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year Cassie Devashrayee with 17 points and seven assists.

Montana State will open Big Sky Conference action when it hosts Southern Utah, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in Worthington Arena.