(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
PORTLAND, Ore.—Kola Bad Bear scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Montana State to an 82-57 win at Portland State on Monday. The victory moved the Bobcats into a tie at 13-4 with Idaho State atop the Big Sky Conference.
For the Bobcats, playing their third game in five days, navigating peaks and valleys in the first half proved crucial. The team rode a 9-for-13 spurt in the first quarter to a 22-10 lead, but did not score for the first five minutes of the second quarter. The frigid spell didn’t matter because Portland State scored its first points after 4:24 had elapsed, a jumper by Esmerelda Morales.
Leia Beattie scored less than a minute later, then hit a three-pointer, and even after such a slow start Montana State was able to out-score the Vikings in the second quarter using its defense. The Cats allowed just seven points on 3-for-20 shooting in that stanza.
The Bobcat defense carried the night. Portland State shot just 34% from the floor, visited the free throw line only five times, and MSU forced 17 Vikings turnovers. The Bobcats turned those miscues into 26 points, and led by Bad Bear, chalked up 30 points in the paint.
“It all starts on the defensive end,” said Ellen Kreighbaum Women’s Head Coach Tricia Binford. “I thought for most of the game we carried over our defense from the Southern Utah game. However, we still have plenty to work on as we gave away too many open looks, especially from beyond the three-point line.”
Beattie scored 15 points and Gabby Mocchi 11 in supporting roles. Mocchi and point guard Darian White and Ashley Van Sickle each dished out four assists, while White, Beattie and Madison Jackson each came up with two steals.
Jada Lewis led the Vikings with 14 points, while Savannah Dhaliwal added 13. Rhema Ogele snagged a game-high 11 rebounds in helping PSU to a 39-37 advantage on the boards.
Montana State visits Montana on Saturday for a crucial game for the Bobcats at 7 p.m. in Dalberg Arena.