— Montana State WBB (@MSUBobcatsWBB) March 1, 2018
(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
POCATELLO, Idaho – Oliana Squires matched a career-high three steals and her final theft with 4.2-seconds remaining and subsequent pass to a streaking Hannah Caudill for a layup put an exclamation point on Montana State’s 61-60 come-from-behind victory over Idaho State on Wednesday night in Reed Gym.
“It was a pretty impressive play by Oli (Squires),” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “She had great court awareness to get a hand on the in-bounds and then find Hannah (Caudill) on the run for the basket. We found a way to get it done and that’s a pretty great thing.”
Montana State (15-13, 9-8) trailed by five points early in the fourth quarter and were down 59-55 with 27-seconds remaining when it staged its late game heroics.
With 20-seconds left, Squires converted a pair of free throws to pull the Bobcats to within two points. Idaho State’s (18-10, 10-7) Brooke Blair was fouled just two-seconds later and the senior from New Zealand went one-of-two at the stripe to give the Bengals a 60-57 advantage.
Following a Bobcat timeout, MSU went the length of the floor with senior Delany Junkermier converting a layup with 9-seconds left to pull Montana State to within one-point. ISU called timeout following the basket and advanced the ball to mid-court. The Bengals attempted to get the ball into the back court but Squires got the deflection and steal and found Caudill for the game-winner.
A final three-point heave by Dora Goles from 25-feet clanked-off left at the final buzzer.
Early, it was all MSU, as the Bobcats built an 11-point cushion in the second quarter only to see ISU chipped the margin down to 33-29 at intermission. The Bengals took its first lead of the contest at the 7:53 mark of the third period. The game was tied at 40-all heading into the final 10-minutes.
Squires’ defensive exploits were not unmatched by her offensive output in the final frame. With just three points at halftime, the Colorado Springs product erupted for eight points in the fourth quarter.
Squires finished with a team-high 13 points, while Madeline Smith added 11 points and six rebounds.
The Bobcat defense, which had given up an average of 85.3 points per game over the last three outings, held Idaho State to just 13.3 percent from beyond the arc and forced 17 turnovers.
“The thing that jumps out at me from the stat sheet is the 11 steals,” Binford said. “We were able to get good ball pressure, get our hands-up and be the aggressor. I really liked our fight down the stretch.”
The eleven steals for MSU were its most since taking away 14 from Utah State in early December.
The Bobcats also received a nice boost from its bench as Blaire Braxton, Ashley Van Sickle, Tori Martell and Laura Pranger helped out-score ISU’s reserves 19-10. Van Sickle, a freshman from Arvada, Colo., connected on a timely three-pointer midway through the final quarter to give MSU a three-point lead.
MSU ended the contest shooting 40 percent from the field, including a seven-of-23 effort from long distance. The Bobcats also connected on ten-of-14 from the line.
Idaho State had three players in double-figures paced by Saylair Grandon with a game-high 15 points.
MSU will close out its regular-season at Weber State in Ogden, Utah on Friday night.