MISSOULA – Before 2:00 on Saturday afternoon, the Lady Griz resembled a team destined for a disappointing end to their season. But a couple hours later, they looked like a serious threat in the Big Sky.
Montana picked a great time to break out of their four-game losing streak, hammering rival Montana State 87-63. The Lady Griz dominated in nearly every category. They shot over 55 percent from the field while holding the Cats under 35 percent. And UM spread the love with 22 assists on 30 made shots.
But really the ladies in maroon just completely out-worked the visitors, as the rebounding edge proved. Montana won the battle on the boards 48-23.
“I just knew that we needed to be the aggressor tonight,” said junior forward Jace Henderson, who collected 17 points and six rebounds. “I wanted to set a tone for our girls. So I just really used my physicality to hopefully get us going.”
“We had a great atmosphere here today,” said head coach Shannon Schweyen referencing the crowd of over 4,000. “It certainly was not going to be a game that they were going to let slip away easy. So from start to finish they just absolutely brought incredible intensity. And I loved the way that they played.”
The win keeps the Lady Griz in the running for a top four-seed and a bye in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament. But they will almost surely need to win their final two games on the road this week at Weber State and Idaho State.
The Wildcats, Bengals, Portland State and Eastern Washington are in a four-way tie for third place at 10-6, with the Lady Griz one game back at 9-7.
Montana will tipoff at Weber State at 7:00 Wednesday night. And then will play at Idaho State at 7:00 Friday night.