(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better Senior Day.
Montana State’s three seniors – Rebekah Hatchard, Delany Junkermier and Hannah Caudill – each scored in double-figures, and Junkermier’s three-pointer with 30-seconds remaining gave MSU the lead it needed as the Bobcats posted a 77-74 victory over Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,088 fans in Worthington Arena.
All three Bobcat seniors opened the game with consecutive three-pointers; first Hatchard, followed by Junkermier and Caudill. Montana State (14-12, 8-7) held a 21-18 lead after the first quarter.
Eastern Washington (13-13, 8-7) turned the table in the second frame as Delaney Hodgins hit for 13-points to give the Eagles a 38-36 advantage at intermission.
Trailing 42-41 at the 7:54 mark of the third quarter, the Bobcats rattled off a 9-2 run sparked by back-to-back three-pointers from freshman Tori Martell. MSU took its largest lead of the period on a Caudill layup with 1:20 left in the frame, but Eastern Washington answered with four straight points to pull to within 60-55 heading into the final 10-minutes.
“I really liked our energy coming out of halftime,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “I was happy to see them play with some fight and have an edge about them. We’ve been playing pretty flat, lately.”
The Bobcats held a 68-60 lead with 6:05 remaining following a Junkermier jumper. The Eagles chipped away at the margin and tied the contest at 72-all with 53-seconds left on a Hodgins layup. Hodgins posted eight points during the EWU rally.
Following a Montana State timeout at the 45-second mark, Caudill found Junkermier open on the left wing and the product of Spokane, Wash., connected on her second triple of the game. The Bobcat defense forced Hodgins into a desperation three-pointer that was corralled by Junkermier with 13-seconds left and Caudill secured the win hitting a pair of free throws with 11-seconds remaining.
“I saw the defender sagging off me and Hannah, be the great assister she is, found me,” Junkermier said. “I just let it fly and it found the bottom of the net.”
Martell, a guard from Somerset, Wis., gave the Bobcat faithful a glimpse of the future notching a season-high 18 points, all coming from three-point range. Also in double-digits were Junkermier 17, Hatchard 16 and Caudill 10. Caudill also posted a season-high ten assists.
“Tori was the X-factor,” Binford said. “I also thought Blaire (Braxton) gave us great energy on the defensive end, and what can you say about Delany’s shot? The crowd has seen her hit a lot of big shots during her career.”
For the game, MSU shot 49.1 percent from the field and converted 14-31 from long distance. The Bobcats also held a 36-30 advantage under the boards and were paced by Junkermier and Martell with seven and six rebounds, respectively.
Caudill’s two free throws at the 8:14 mark of the third quarter gave her 1,000-points for her career, making her just the 23rd Bobcat in history to accomplish the milestone.
Hodgins finished with a game-high 31 points for the Eagles.
Montana State will play at Montana next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.