(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics press release)
SEATTLE -- Montana State used an 11-0 run coming out of halftime, blowing open a tight first half, then held on down the stretch for a 73-65 win over Seattle U on Saturday afternoon in Redhawk Center.
Oliana Squires and Madeline Smith paced Montana State (4-2) in the first half recording 12 and ten points, respectively. Neither team held more than a three-point margin until Smith’s layup with under a minute left gave the Bobcats a 31-26 advantage. MSU entered intermission with a 31-29 cushion.
MSU’s third quarter run was sparked by four different players capped by Darian White’s layup giving the Bobcats a 42-29 cushion. With over two minutes left in the frame, White converted a layup, stole the in-bounds pass, and recorded another layup in the span of ten-seconds, giving Montana State its largest lead of the contest at 56-36.
Seattle U (2-6) answered the Bobcat scoring outburst closing out the third quarter and beginning the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run pulling to within 56-49. Twice down the stretch the Redhawks closed to within three-points, but again White, a true-freshman from Boise, Idaho, responded with a critical three-pointer from the left baseline with 53-seconds remaining to give MSU the margin it needed. The Cats connected on four-of-four from the line in the waning moments for the victory.
“I really loved our mentality coming out of halftime,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We had a great third quarter. Seattle U fought back, and we were able to hold them off. We still need to improve on mistakes on our end, but we found a way to win on the road.”
Smith paced four Bobcats in double-figure scoring with a game-high 18 points. The senior from Snohomish, Wash., connected on seven-of-13 from the field and four-of-six from the line. In addition, she pulled down nine rebounds.
Also in double-digits were Squires 17, White 11 and Fallyn Freije with ten. Freije finished the game eight-of-eight from the line, while Squires converted seven-of-eight tosses.
“Oliana was steady, and I thought Madeline really did a great job in the interior,” Binford said. “Fallyn and Darian had big second halves for us and we’re at our best when getting contributions from multiple players.”
Montana State shot 35.5% from the field and 82.8% at the line connecting on 24-29 attempts. The Bobcats out-rebounded the Redhawks 42-31.
Seattle U was led by Courtney Murphy with 14 points.
MSU will host 22nd-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in Worthington Arena.