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Montana Lady Griz hang with No. 25 Gonzaga, fall 58-51

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Posted at 9:15 AM, Dec 14, 2020

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Montana stayed close at Gonzaga, but the 25th-ranked Bulldogs held on for a 58-51 women's basketball win Sunday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Sophia Stiles paced the Lady Griz with a game-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The Malta product added four rebounds, two assists and four steals in the game, while Carmen Gfeller chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

Gonzaga built a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and took a 30-23 advantage into halftime. The Bulldogs grew the lead to as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but the Lady Griz used a 14-2 fourth-quarter run to get back within 48-46.

The Lady Griz twice had shots to take the lead with less than four minutes to go but missed both. Gonzaga’s Kayleigh Truong answered with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 51-46 with 2:48 left, and the Bulldogs would ice the game from there. They made 15 of 21 free throw attempts in the game.

"I’m very proud of the girls. They competed their hearts out. We put ourselves in position. They just made a few more plays than we did,” first-year coach Mike Petrino said in a media release. "But the effort was there. I was really proud of the effort. It was a very competitive effort. I loved it. Even when we were down, we kept fighting.”

The Bulldogs used a balanced offensive attack with seven players scoring between five and 12 points each. LeeAnne Wirth had a team-high 12 points and eight rebounds, and Cierra walker added 10 points. Jenn Wirth had nine points and nine rebounds for Gonzaga, which totaled 18 offensive rebounds to UM's 10. The Bulldogs outscored the Lady Griz 13-4 in second-chance points and 13-1 in fast-break points. Gonzaga turned 19 Lady Griz turnovers into 17 points, while UM was able to muster only four points off 14 Gonzaga turnovers.

Montana (1-2) will next travel to Seattle (2-3) for another non-conference game at 3 p.m. (MT) Tuesday.