(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)
POCATELLO, Idaho – Montana shot 25.9 percent and turned the ball over 21 times to fall at Idaho State on Thursday night, losing 50-34 to the Bengals at Reed Gym in Pocatello.
It marked the fewest points scored by the Lady Griz since a season-opening 52-34 loss at UC Riverside in 2010-11 and the fewest points ever allowed by Idaho State when facing a Division I opponent.
“It was not a pretty basketball game,” said coach Shannon Schweyen. “It was a struggle to find anyone who could come in and give us a lift.”
Coming five days after a thrilling 82-79 victory over Idaho, Montana shot 3 for 17 in the opening quarter and never really warmed up from there.
Idaho State took a 9-8 lead late in the opening period when Grace Kenyon connected on a 3-pointer, and the Bengals would hold it the rest of the game.
Montana was down just three at the break, 21-18, after closing the opening half with a 3-pointer by McKenzie Johnston and buzzer-beating lay-in by Jace Henderson.
Gabi Harrington made it a 7-0 run and 21-20 when she opened the third quarter with a short jumper, but Kenyon scored, Estefania Ors hit a three and Kenyon scored again to up the lead to 28-20.
Montana cut its deficit to five late in the third and again early in the fourth, but the Lady Griz closed the game missing 11 of their final 13 shots and Idaho State went 7 for 8 from the line down the stretch.
“Even on their end, they were struggling,” said Schweyen, whose defense held the Big Sky’s top shooting team to 33.3 percent.
“We kept hanging around and had them in the 30s forever. It was an ugly battle to see who could finally put the ball in the hole in the fourth quarter.”
Henderson, coming off a 31-point game against the Vandals, scored the opening points on Thursday, but she was surrounded by Bengals for most of it and finished with six points on 3-of-8 shooting.
Needing to score from the perimeter to loosen up Idaho State’s defense, Montana went 3 for 21 from the arc.
“I don’t think we adjusted well to what they were doing,” said Schweyen. “We needed to knock down some perimeter shots and we had kids hesitating to do that.
“And nobody was getting rebound put-backs. There is nothing better when you’re struggling than to have someone bust in and put one in. That was another area we didn’t do well in tonight.”
Sammy Fatkin, who scored 19 on Saturday, had another nice outing, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 10 points. Nobody else scored more than six.
“Sammy gave us a lift and had some big buckets,” said Schweyen. “Otherwise it was throwing everybody in there and trying to get somebody to give us a little something. It was not our night.
“We’re not going to overthink this one. It was just a bad night for us. On to the next one.”
Montana (9-8, 4-4 BSC) will face Weber State (4-14, 1-7 BSC) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Odgen. The Wildcats gave away a 10-point halftime lead and fell 66-59 at home to Montana State on Thursday.