(Editor's Note: Montana State University Press Release)
SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah used a 15-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull away from a scrappy Montana State squad to post a 73-63 victory over the Bobcats on Friday in the Huntsman Center.
Montana State (1-2) sophomore point guard Darian White scored MSU’s first seven points, en route to a game-high 21 points on a 10-of-19 shooting performance from the field. Utah (2-1), which was coming off an 85-79 victory at No. 15 Oregon State on Tuesday night, used the long ball, connecting on five 3-pointers in the opening 10 minutes to take a 21-17 lead.
The Bobcats used a 7-0 run in the second stanza and took a 28-26 lead following a Katelynn Limardo layup at the 4:28 mark. A Tori Martell triple with 35 seconds remaining gave the Bobcats a 35-33 lead heading into intermission.
“I really liked how we responded to a tough outing against BYU,” said MSU 16th-year head coach Tricia Binford. “We came out strong and played a much cleaner game. We got some good looks and were able to have an interior presence. It was also great to see Darian take control. I thought she was the best player on the floor.”
Montana State took a four-point lead on three occasions in the third quarter, the last giving MSU a 46-42 cushion at the 6:42 mark on a White jumper. Utah tied the score at 51-all with 19 seconds left in the stanza.
Following a White basket at the 8:37 mark of the final frame, the Utes rattled off 15 unanswered points, taking a 70-55 lead with five minutes left. The Bobcats outscored Utah 8-3 down the stretch, but would get no closer than nine points as the Utes posted a 12th straight victory over Montana State.
“For three quarters I thought we kept things pretty simple,” Binford said. “The fourth quarter got away from us. We lost our legs a little bit, but I’m proud of our effort. We have some things to build on and we’ll continue to grow and gain confidence.”
Also in double figures for Montana State were Madison Jackson and Limardo with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jackson went 9 of 9 at the free throw line to post her first double-digit game since recording a career-high 15 points last winter against Eastern Washington on Jan. 18. Limardo, a freshman from Silver City, N.M. hit a pair of 3-pointers to guide the Bobcats from long distance.
For the game, MSU shot 31.8 percent from the field, went 4 of 17 from beyond the arc and hit 17 of 20 free throw attempts. Utah finished shooting 46.6 percent from the floor, 12 of 27 from distance and were 7 of 12 at the line.
The Bobcats, who held a 20-19 lead under the glass at halftime, were out-rebounded by the Utes 42-36. Montana State was led under the glass by Limardo, Martell and Jackson with four rebounds apiece.
Montana State will travel to Portland on Thursday, Dec. 17 to face the Pilots at 2 p.m. (MT).