MISSOULA – Inviting a rival to Dahlberg Arena proved to be just what the Montana Lady Griz needed to shake off some recent struggles. A huge third-quarter pushed UM past the Montana State Bobcats, 87-63.
A close game quickly became a blowout in the third, thanks to four three-pointers by Taylor Goligoski. The Lady Griz sophomore guard did not score, and only attempted two shots in the first half. But three straight three-pointers late in the third were part of a 13-0 run, putting Montana up by 21. Montana State never threatened after Goligoski’s daggers.
The Lady Griz had struggled offensively during a four-game losing streak. But they came alive versus their in-state rivals. Montana scored 53 points in the second half.
UM improves to 9-7 with one week left in Big Sky Conference play. Montana State falls to 8-8.
Both teams have slid down the league standings over the past three weeks. And in the first half, both teams traded points in a game that clearly meant more than just the usual bragging rights to both teams. Neither side built more than a five-point lead. Montana led 34-30 at halftime.
Montana’s red-hot second half led to 55 percent shooting for the game. The Lady Griz held the dangerous Cats to only 35 percent shooting. UM also completely dominated the battle of the boards, grabbing 48 rebounds compared to MSU’s 23.
Montana State senior point guard Hannah Caudill scored a game-high 20 points, thanks to six of 14 shooting from behind the three-point arc. Sophomore guard Oliana Squires chipped in 19 points for the Cats, making five of nine from deep.
Madi Schoening led the way for Montana. The physical sophomore guard scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and also dished out six assists. Sophomore point guard McKenzie Johnston remained her steady self throughout constant pressure from MSU, scoring 15 points and collecting eight assists. Junior post Jace Henderson added 17 points for Montana. Goligoski’s 14 points all came in the third quarter.
Both teams will finish the regular season with road games at Weber State and Idaho State next week.