(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Montana State sophomore Madeline Smith’s jumper with two-minutes, 35-seconds remaining was MSU’s final field-goal of the game and it was enough to give the Bobcats the cushion it needed en route to a 63-57 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday afternoon at America First Event Center.
Smith’s seventh basket of the game gave Montana State (12-8, 6-3) a 60-57 advantage. The Bobcats went three-of-four from the free throw line in the final 20-seconds to secure the victory.
“It was a grind,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “Southern Utah did a great job defensively on us but we found a way down the stretch to get stops. I’m proud of our resolve.”
The Bobcats tried to pull away from Southern Utah (3-17, 2-7) in the second quarter taking a 34-27 lead on an Ashley Van Sickle three-pointer, but the Thunderbirds roared back with a 5-0 run to close the gap to 34-32 heading into intermission.
The Bobcats maintained their advantage in the third frame, and for most of the final quarter, before SUU took its first lead of the second half with 5:55 remaining on a layup by Whitney Johnson.
A pair of free throws via Delany Junkermier followed by a 10-foot jumper by Hannah Caudill thirty-seconds later gave MSU the last lead change of the contest.
Smith finished with a game-high 16 points, while Junkermier and Caudill added 13 points, apiece. Junkermier pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
Caudill, a senior from Spokane, Wash., dished out a season-high nine assists. The total pushed Caudill into second on Montana State’s career assist chart with 442, just two away from establishing a school-record. The current mark of 443 assists is held by Vicki Heebner-Carle (1980-84).
Montana State shot 44 percent from the field for the game and connected on 11-30 from beyond the arc. The Bobcat defense limited Southern Utah to 30.3 percent from the floor. In addition, MSU held a 39-31 advantage under the boards.
SUU was guided by Ashley Larson with 13 points and seven rebounds.