(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Both Montana State head coach Tricia Binford and senior Delany Junkermier had the same thing to say postgame; “streaks are made to be broken.”
Portland State used an efficient offense coupled with poor shooting in the opening twenty minutes by the Bobcats to notch a 69-60 victory to snap MSU’s 31-game home court win streak, Thursday night in Worthington Arena. It was the second longest in the nation, and a school-record.
Montana State’s last loss in Worthington Arena was a 62-49 decision to San Diego on Nov. 24, 2015.
Montana State (8-8, 2-3) who put on a shooting clinic in its last home stand found the going tough in the first two quarters connecting on just seven-of-29 from the field, including two-of-16 from long distance.
Portland State’s (9-6, 3-1) Ashley Bolston banked in a three-pointer from just inside the mid-court line at the buzzer to give the Vikings a 26-18 advantage heading into intermission.
“We have to do a better job being ‘all-in’ from the start,” Binford said. “I thought we missed a few shots at the beginning and we played very passive the rest of the half. We’re seeing a trend with lack of consistency in the opening 20-minutes and that is something that needs to be fixed.”
Montana State was able to chip the PSU lead down to five-points at the 6:27 mark of the third period following a Blaire Braxton layup but the Vikings responded with a 15-9 run to take an 11-point cushion into the final frame.
The Bobcats refused to go away and whittled a 15-point deficit down to 62-59 with one-minute remaining following a three-pointer via Oliana Squires. The Vikings converted a seven-of-eight from the charity stripe down the stretch to secure the win.
“We had much better ball movement and were more aggressive in the second half,” Binford said. “However, we just can’t keep saying we had a great half, we need to be ready from the opening tip and put a complete game together.”
Junkermier paced MSU with 19 points on seven-of-10 shooting. Also in double-digits were Madeline Smith 15 and Squires 13. Smith led the Bobcats under the boards with nine rebounds.
After shooting just 24 percent in the first half, the Bobcats hit at a 47 percent clip in the second stanza. PSU held a narrow 38-36 advantage in rebounding.
Montana State looks to start a new streak against Sacramento State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“I was an amazing run,” Binford said. “Our fans, band and cheerleaders made Worthington Arena one of the toughest places to play in the nation over the past few years. Not many schools can say that. We had some great victories, but now it’s time to come back strong on Saturday and begin a new streak.”