(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
POCATELLO, Idaho -- On a hot and cold day for the Montana women’s basketball team, it was too much of the latter as the Lady Griz shot 32.3 percent and lost 72-59 at Idaho State on Saturday afternoon.
Montana (14-10, 9-6 BSC) went 7 for 34 (.206) in the first half to fall behind by seven at the break, 27-20, the Lady Griz’ lowest-scoring opening half since November.
Montana could do no wrong in the third quarter, hitting nine of its 13 shots to not just fight its way back into the game but take the lead three times late in the period.
But Idaho State (13-11, 9-6 BSC) scored the opening six points of the fourth quarter and led the final 9:15 to complete the season sweep of Montana and give the Bengals an important tiebreaker over the Lady Griz.
Montana went 4 for 15 in the fourth quarter, which was costly. Adding to the hurt was Dora Goles, who scored 15 of her game-high 36 points in the final period.
Her 36 points -- she shot 10 for 17, hit five 3-pointers and went 11 for 12 from the line -- were the most scored by a Big Sky Conference player this season.
“She’s a good shooter, their best 3-point shooter, and we left her too many times,” said coach Shannon Schweyen.
“She got away from us a couple times and we had people lose track of her. She made the most of those situations and knocked those down.”
But it wasn’t the close that kept Montana from winning its fourth straight game as much as it was the opening 20 minutes, when the Grizzlies had more turnovers (8) than baskets made (7).
“The first half is what killed us,” said Schweyen. “Those shooting percentages are going to hurt you. We had lots of opportunities down around the basket and didn’t capitalize.
“The encouraging thing was as poorly as we played, we were only down seven. We knew we could be better than that.”
Sparked by Emma Stockholm, who had 15 of her team-high 20 points in the period, Montana couldn’t be stopped in the third quarter.
Stockholm went 4 for 4 in the period, hitting both of her 3-point attempts, and Abby Anderson went 3 for 3. Together they combined for 21 points in the third, more than Montana scored as a team in the first half.
“Emma had a good little run and played like a senior,” said Schweyen, “and Abby went to work on them a little bit. She had some beautiful post moves and scored some big buckets.
“I’m proud of the way the ladies came out after halftime. We responded really well and got back into it. We made a great run and made a game of it.”
A big moment came late in the third quarter when Stockholm, who had three fouls at the half, picked up her fourth late in the period with the game tied 45-45 and was brought to the bench.
Whatever Montana had coming out at halftime seemed to be lost when Stockholm left the court. The Lady Griz would go the next five minutes without a field goal.
McKenzie Johnston would break that streak when she hit what would be her only basket of the game, making it 55-50 with 5:14 to go, but Goles answered right back with a back-breaking triple.
Idaho State went 8 for 13 in the fourth quarter.
“We came back and had our chances down the stretch but then we couldn’t get stops,” said Schweyen. “No matter what we did, they were scoring on us.
“Down the stretch we needed to get some stops and we did not.”
Stockholm and Anderson both went 6 for 10 and combined for 35 points, with Madi Schoening adding 12.
The Bengals limited Johnston and Sophia Stiles to three points on 1-of-14 shooting, and Montana’s bench went just 3 for 17 with nine points scored, the second-lowest output by the team’s reserves this season.
“They made it tough for Kenz to get anything going. It’s not easy with that kind of pressure for 40 minutes,” said Schweyen. “They are a good defensive team. They took us out of our flow for sure.”
The loss leaves Montana and Idaho State tied for fourth in the Big Sky standings, when being in the top five means a first-round bye at the league tournament next month.
Their sweep of the Lady Griz give the Bengals the head-to-head tiebreaker.
They are both two up in the win -- one in the loss -- column on Southern Utah and Northern Colorado, which are both 7-7 in league after big home wins on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Griz still have to play both of those teams on the road on the final week of the regular season.
Montana will play at Montana State (17-6, 13-1 BSC) next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Bozeman.