LOGAN, Utah -- The Montana Lady Griz dropped their first game of the 2020-21 women's basketball season to Utah State in a close-fought battle that came down to fourth-quarter offensive burst and clutch free throws from the Aggies, who secured an 81-74 win on Wednesday.
In the first half, Carmen Gfeller took over for the Lady Griz as she scored a team-high 21 points on the night. Montana first-year head coach Mike Petrino didn't shy away from getting young players on the court, as three true freshmen saw more than 10 minutes of play.
The Lady Griz took a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but their lead was chopped down as Utah pulled within two points, 39-37, at halftime.
In the second half, Utah State's Meagan Mendazona led the Aggies' offense as they outscored Montana 44-35 in the second half.
Mendazona finished with a team-high 18 points on 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) shooting from the field and 2 for 3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Overall, it was a sloppy game on both sides in terms of turnovers, as each team gave the ball up 20 times.
As a team, Utah State went 32 of 66 (48.5 percent) from the field and 7 for 26 (26.9 percent) from 3-point range. Montana shot 27 of 64 (42.2 percent) and 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
Willa Albrecht (14 points) and Abby Anderson (10) also finished with double-digit points for the Lady Griz.
The Aggies also beat the Lady Griz on the boards 42-33.
Montana is scheduled to play its first home game of the season on Dec. 3 against Southern Utah at 7 p.m.