(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics press release)
BOZEMAN -- Five Montana State players reached double-figure scoring as the Bobcats used a strong second half surge spurned by its defense, en route to a convincing 91-58 victory over Northern Colorado on Thursday night in Worthington Arena.
“It felt great in the second half to lock in our defense,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “I don’t remember a team scoring that many points in a half this season on us, and we’ve been priding ourselves on defense basically contributing to our offense, and we were able to get that locked in.”
Montana State (7-5, 3-0) held a 23-17 lead after the opening ten-minutes closing out the frame on a 10-3 run. The Bobcats pushed its advantage to 12 points on a Madison Jackson layup and held a 45-37 cushion over Northern Colorado (5-6, 1-1) at intermission.
The Bobcats came out of halftime on a 12-3 run as Fallyn Freije and Darian White combined for eight points as MSU took a 17-point advantage. Montana State grabbed its largest lead of the contest at 91-55 on a Tori Martell three-pointer with 38-seconds remaining.
Freije and Martha Kuderer paced the Bobcats with 17 points, apiece, while Jackson notched a season-high 14 points, Oliana Squires 12 and White 10. Freije finished eight-of-eight from the line, while Kuderer torched the net hitting on eight-of-10 attempts.
“You can tell when we get going,” Binford said. “Offensively, I thought we were very efficient. The balance really showed, and our kids are showing consistency. They know what their roles are and they’re executing those roles really well and that’s such a big part, that kids are embracing that, and being a champion in that role and I love what everyone is bringing to the table.”
As a team, the Bobcats finished shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and connected on 14-17 from the line. The MSU defense limited the Bears to 34 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from long distance.
MSU held a narrow 37-34 advantage under the boards as six Bobcats pulled down four rebounds or more led by Freije and White with six and five, apiece.
“We did a little better job on the glass in the second half,” Binford said. “Northern Colorado was great on the glass and they got a lot of second possessions, but I felt we were able to rotate our bench and have some fresh legs in there and continue to grind it out which was really rewarding to pay ourselves off in the second half.”
UNC was led in the loss by Kadie Deaton with 11 points and six rebounds.
Montana State will host Southern Utah on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Worthington Arena.