(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
OGDEN, Utah -- In a midday matchup of teams heading in opposite directions, Montana took care of business and then some on Thursday, winning 78-46 at Weber State.
The Lady Griz (14-9, 9-5 BSC) shot 49.2 percent to win their third straight, their fifth in their last six games, and move one step closer to a first-round bye at next month’s Big Sky tournament in Boise.
It was Montana’s largest margin of victory in a Big Sky Conference road game since February 2009 and the Lady Griz’ largest margin of victory over Weber State in Ogden since February 1990.
The Wildcats (3-20, 1-13 BSC), who went 5 for 29 in the second half as Montana pulled away, lost their 10th straight game.
Taylor Goligoski scored a game-high 17 points off the bench. Madi Schoening, Abby Anderson and Jamie Pickens all scored 11 points, McKenzie Johnston totaled nine assists.
Johnston moved past Kelly Pilcher (1990-94) and into sixth place on the Montana career assists list with 480. She is eight away from matching Cheri Bratt (1980-84) and breaking into the top five.
Best of all, considering what is yet to come on the road trip, no one was overly taxed by playing a lot of minutes.
Montana will play at Idaho State (12-10, 8-5 BSC) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Bengals, who host Montana State on Thursday night, topped the Lady Griz in Missoula last month.
Johnston played 30 minutes. The other eight players were on the court for between 16 and 23 minutes, none of it requiring heavy lifting to get the win.
“That was great to see, because we’ve got a big one on Saturday,” said coach Shannon Schweyen. “Idaho State is always physical. You don’t want to be going into that one dragging.”
Montana scored just four points through the opening five minutes on Thursday before Goligoski checked in and provided some instant offense.
She scored on a driving layup, then nailed back-to-back 3-pointers less than a minute apart to put Montana up 16-9. She scored eight points in the opening period.
“She came in and had total confidence banging those threes,” said Schweyen. “She made some nice plays and played some good defense. That was one of her better games.”
Montana led 35-28 at the break, then ran away from Weber State in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 43-18 over the final 20 minutes.
The Lady Griz had eight steals in the third quarter alone and forced Weber State into 14 second-half turnovers, 19 for the game.
“We switched to the zone, and I think it slowed them down,” said Schweyen. “We finally got into a little bit of a flow where we could get some fast-breaks and get some good things going.”
Emma Stockholm just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds, which matched her career high. Anderson had three blocks, Sophia Stiles three steals.