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Montana Lady Griz fall to Sacramento State in Big Sky Conference tournament opener

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Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 08, 2021

The Montana Lady Griz saw their season come to a close on Monday evening as No. 6 UM fell to No. 11 Sacramento State 65-58 in the opening round of the Big Sky Conference tournament at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Sophia Stiles finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for UM while Abby Anderson added 14 points and Carmen Gfeller tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Lady Griz who finish the season 12-11 in the first year under head coach Mike Petrino.

Sac State came into the game just 2-21 on the season and 2-18 in Big Sky play and was swept by the Lady Griz in the regular season. Summer Menke led Sac State with 18 points and 14 rebounds as five Hornets scored in double figures, including Kalispell Flathead graduate Tiana Johnson, who scored 11 points and grabbed six boards for Sac State.

Montana started the game on a 9-2 run, but Sac State quickly found it's footing and trailed just 30-27 at the break. After a back-and-forth third quarter, Montana went into the final frame up 45-44.

But after taking a 49-46 lead at the 8:27 mark of the fourth quarter, Montana went on a scoring drought that lasted over 6 1/2 minutes, and Sac State took full advantage en route to an 11-0 run as the Hornets grabbed a 57-49 lead with 1:51 to play. Despite a late push from Montana, the Hornets held on down the stretch to complete the first upset of the tournament.

The Lady Griz finished shooting at a 29.9% clip from the field including a 4-for-31 performance from beyond the arc. In the second half, UM shot at a 25.7% mark and finished 2 for 17 from deep as the offense struggled and Sac State eventually took the lead for good. Kylie Frohlich led UM with 10 rebounds.

The Hornets finished shooting 37.1% from the field but also struggled from deep, going 3 for 21. Montana finished with 15 turnovers which the Hornets turned into 17 points. The Hornets also out-scored the Lady Griz 38 to 20 in the paint.

Sac State will take on No. 3 Montana State on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.