(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics media release)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Montana State senior Martha Kuderer posted a career-high 23 points, including 15 in the opening half to lift the Bobcats to a comfortable 85-48 win over Sacramento State in the Big Sky Conference opener for both squads. The victory was MSU’s fifth consecutive opening win in league play.
Montana State (5-5, 1-0) overcame a sloppy first half and 14 turnovers with just two miscues in the second half. The Bobcats outscored Sacramento State (2-8, 0-1) 56-29 in the final two quarters.
“We told them at halftime to keep the passes simple and great things will happen,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We also did a great job on the glass and finished a +22 in possessions. It was a solid win, but now we need to turn the page and prepare for Monday night.”
After holding a 29-19 lead at intermission, the Bobcats exploded for a 32-point third quarter. Senior Madeline Smith sparked MSU’s third frame with 10 points as the Bobcats connected on 12-24 from the field. Montana State also held an 18-0 advantage in points in the paint and dominated the boards 32-12 in the first 10-minutes of the stanza.
“We were able to keep fresh legs on the court and I thought our depth played a pivotal role,” Binford said. “Blaire Braxton gave us instant impact, while I thought Martha played her best game for us from start to finish. The seniors showed their maturity in the second half and settled in and played with composure to dominate the second half.”
MSU built its largest lead at 83-42 with one-minute, 26-seconds remaining on a Madison Jackson layup.
Kuderer, a 5-11 forward from Eden Prairie, Minn., finished shooting seven-of-15 from the field and eight-of-11 from the line. She also hauled down four rebounds and added two assists and a steal.
Smith ended with her second double-double of the year with 13 points and ten boards, while freshman point guard Darian White posted her first collegiate double-double with 12 points and ten rebounds.
Oliana Squires, MSU’s leading scorer entering the contest, was held to five points but dished out a season-high seven assists. Braxton finished with six rebounds, giving her 590 for her career moving into 15th on MSU’s all-time rebounding chart.
Also contributing to the Bobcat victory were Fallyn Freije with nine points, eight rebounds and three assists. Freshman Kola Bad Bear also helped MSU command the paint with a season-high eight points. Tori Martel finished with nine points, including a pair of three-pointers.
MSU shot 44.6% from the floor, while holding the Hornets to 25.4%. MSU also held a commanding 59-37 under the boards.
Tiana Johnson was the only Hornet in double-digits with 10 points.
MSU will play at Northern Arizona, Monday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m. (MT) in Flagstaff.