(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Northern Colorado’s Savannah Smith scored a career-high 37 points to guide the Bears to an 84-73 victory over Montana State on Monday night in Shroyer Gym.
Smith, a 5-6 senior from Fort Collins, Colo., connected on 14-of-23 from the field, six-of-13 from long distance and three-of-three from the line to match a Northern Colorado (14-6, 9-2) scoring record.
Montana State (11-10, 6-5) found itself down early as the Bears closed out the first quarter on an 11-0 run. Smith recorded 10 points in the opening frame as the UNC shot 57.9 percent from the field.
The Bobcats chipped the lead down to 37-30 at 2:19 mark of the second period on a Tori Martell free throw, but the Bears finished out the half with four unanswered points to hold an 11-point cushion at intermission.
MSU whittled the lead down to six points in the early moments of the third quarter on a Claire Lundberg free throw. Again, Northern Colorado responded rattling off a 10-2 run to take a 51-37 advantage at the 6:26 mark on a Smith jumper.
UNC built its largest margin at 82-63 in the fourth quarter, before MSU closed out the contest on a 10-2 run.
“It was pretty much not getting stops all night,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “Every time we tried to make a bit of a run they countered. Savannah (Smith) is last year’s MVP for a reason. She’s a fantastic player. The first time we played them she put points on the board, but we kept everyone else in check. They had some other kids get going with four in double-digits. We got to make sure we get the other things off the board.”
Also hitting double-figures for UNC were Alexis Chapman 15, Micayla Isenbart 12 and Krystal Leger-Walker 10. The Bears shot 49.3 percent from the field and converted 11-of-27 from long distance.
Montana State, which gave up 14 offensive boards and committed 17 turnovers, found its touch in the second half shooting 44 percent from the floor, while going to the line 20 times.
“We had some mistakes pile up,” Binford said. “When you have mistakes great teams are going to find a way to exploit them, and, we couldn’t overcome that.”
The Bobcats were led in scoring by Lundberg with 13 points, while Halle Wright and Madeline Smith added 11 points, apiece. Freshman Gabby Mocchi posted a season-high nine points, all coming from beyond the three-point line. Blaire Braxton also added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Montana State will play at Eastern Washington on Thursday night in Cheney.