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Montana State women find last-minute opponent, top Utah Valley in back-and-forth game

Katelynn Limardo
Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 02, 2021

(Editor's note: Montana State Press Release)

OREM, Utah -- On an afternoon that saw its two leading scorers combine for just three-of-20 from the field, the Montana State women’s basketball team received career highs from Katelynn Limardo and Gabby Mocchi to post a 66-63 win over Utah Valley on Saturday in the UCCU Center.

Limardo, a freshman from Silver City, N.M. posted a team-high 15 points, connecting on 6-of-8 from the field, including three 3-pointers. Her final triple of the contest with 16-seconds left helped secure the Bobcats victory.

Mocchi, a junior from Champlin, Minn., came off the bench to notch 13 points, hitting 4-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line. In all, the Bobcats’ bench players outscored UVU’s bench 29-11.

“It was a great team win,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We found a way as Utah Valley made a great run in the fourth quarter. This is a fun group with so many options and we were able to get some other pieces going today.

“Katelynn had a great game and hit a big, timely three-pointer,” Binford added. “I’m also proud of Gabby for really stepping-up. She does so many things right and really helped us out in the post.”

Montana State (3-3) held at 52-42 lead heading into the final quarter. MSU opened the final stanza taking a 12-point advantage following a Darian White layup at the 8:50 mark, but Utah Valley (2-1) responded with a 9-0 run to cut the margin to 54-51 with 6 minutes, 2-seconds remaining.

The Bobcats countered the UVU run with seven unanswered points capped by a Tori Martell triple at the 5:08 mark. The Wolverines chopped the lead down to three points on two occasions, the last coming with one-minute, 28-seconds left on a Kayla Anderson jumper.

With under a minute remaining, Utah Valley had a chance to tie the score or close to within one as Nehaa Sohail had a clear path for a layup but White swooped in from the backside with a block, which eventually setup Limardo’s back-breaking three-pointer.

White and Martell, who entered the game averaging 19.4 and 15.2 points per game, respectively, combined for 11 points. Despite a scoring drought, the Bobcat backcourt duo added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

“Our strength is in the team,” Binford said. “We had 21 assists, and to me, that’s the highlight of the final boxscore.”

Freshman Lexi Deden finished with nine points, four steals, three rebounds and two blocks to help spark the Bobcat attack.

For the game, MSU shot 39 percent from the field, 35.7% from long distance and 71.4% at the free throw line. The Bobcats committed eleven turnovers but forced UVU into 23 miscues which resulted in a 22-10 advantage in points scored off errors.

Utah Valley held a 40-29 advantage under the boards. Freshman Taylor Janssen paced the Bobcats with a team-high seven rebounds.

UVU was led by Josie Williams with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Montana State will look to open its Big Sky Conference season hosting Northern Colorado next Thursday.