MISSOULA — The Montana Lady Griz survived a scare on Friday evening but buckled down to beat Weber State 87-71 to open Big Sky Conference play with a victory in front of 2,637 fans at Dahlberg Arena.
Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw led the way for UM (7-3, 1-0 Big Sky) with 21 points including a 5-for-8 performance from deep. In total, five players scored in double figures as Carmen Gfeller added 15, Mack Konig scored 14, Gina Marxen tallied 13 and Macey Huard scored 11 off of the bench.
UM shot 46.3% from the field and went 13 for 31 from deep.
UM jumped to a 9-0 lead and cruised with a double-digit advantage for most of the game, including at 46-29 edge at the break. But in the fourth quarter, down 59-43, Weber State got hot and got within 66-61 with 6:14 to play after a 3-pointer from Kendra Parra.
But that was as close as the Wildcats got as UM closed it down down the stretch with Gfeller, Espenmiller-McGraw and Konig accounting for 19 of UM's final 21 points to put the game away.
Daryn Hickok led Weber State (3-10, 0-1) with 21 points.
UM is back in action on Sunday in Missoula at 2 p.m. when they host Idaho State.