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Montana Lady Griz blown out at home by Eastern Washington

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Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 00:59:47-05

MISSOULA — From start to finish, the Eastern Washington Eagles raced past the Montana Lady Griz on Monday at Dahlberg Arena, as EWU topped UM 87-60.

The win split the season series between the two programs after Montana won in Cheney, Washington, back in December.

Jaydia Martin scored 33 points on 14-for-23 shooting and the Eagles (10-6, 3-3 Big Sky) jumped out to a 48-25 lead by halftime thanks to a shooting performance of 63.6% in the first half from the field.

Whether it was urgency, making plays, or energy, EWU bested Montana in nearly every category en route to the win. Jaleesa Lawrence scored 13 points for the Eagles and Milly Knowles added 12. The Eagles finished the game shooting 57.1% from the field and were 8 for 21 from 3-point range.

"I apologize to Griz Nation, I apologize to the fans for the effort," Lady Griz head coach Brian Holsinger said. "It's on me, like I said on the radio. I'm the head coach and from me on down to the end of the bench we weren't prepared to play, which is super disappointing here at home.

"This team for some reason, doesn't quite understand how teams coming in here, teams don't win here, they haven't won here and so our team doesn't understand the history of that yet and how important that is. It starts with our seniors. I'm not into excuses and that's why you won't hear them from me. I, ultimately, didn't have them mentally prepared to play this game tonight and we'll figure it out because we obviously have a big one on Saturday."

Montana's starters struggled and their top two scorers came off of the bench in freshmen Libby Stump and Mack Konig, who each had 14 and 11 points, respectively.

UM's starters had a combined seven points in the first half. The leading-scoring trio of Carmen Gfeller, Gina Marxen and Sammy Fatkin combined for 2-for-12 shooting in the first half and finished the game 7 for 20 from the field between the three.

"The No. 1 thing that I wrote on the board in the locker room was be the aggressors on offense and play with a sense of urgency on defense and our starting group did neither," Holsinger said. "We did the exact opposite on their home court. We came ready to play, we kind of punched them right off the bat and they didn't recover. Here they did it to us on our home court. I don't know if it's fatigue, I'm not into excuses but we kind of just didn't fight.

"I have a hard time understanding that but for whatever reason we have to figure it out and make sure they understand how important it is to fight."

UM finished shooting 41.4% in the game and 4 for 15 from 3-point range. UM turned it over 12 times to EWU's six, a stat the Eagles turned into 17 points.

The loss snapped UM's best winning streak of the season at three games as UM fell to 4-4 overall at home this season. The Lady Griz (8-10, 4-3) now turn their attention to Saturday's tilt against rival Montana State (12-7, 5-2) in the Brawl of the Wild in the first meeting of the season between the two teams.