(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
BOZEMAN -- Trailing Weber State by two points in the second quarter, Montana State exerted its depth and balance. The result was an 84-57 Bobcat win that extended MSU’s win streak to six games.
Saturday’s turning point came midway through the second quarter. After the Wildcats scored seven straight points to take a 24-22 lead five minutes before halftime, the MSU response was fast, emphatic and familiar. In less than two minutes Katelynn Limardo sank a pair of free throws to tie the score, then Ashley Van Sickle, Leia Beattie hit three-points on consecutive possessions. Only halftime halted Montana State’s momentum. The Bobcats led 38-24 at that point, and the outcome was never in doubt again.
Montana State coach Tricia Binfird said once her team got on a roll things snowballed. “I think it’s just momentum,” she said of the decisive spurt. “You hit the first and the bench is getting pretty fired up, then you hit the second, you hit the third, and now you’ve got a momentum swing. It’s not a matter of who’s taking (the shot), it’s finding the open three for the team. Right now this team has such great trust, we’re trying to get the right shot.”
Darian White paced MSU with a game-high 14 points, grabbing five rebounds and snagging two steals, but 12 Bobcats scored and six netted at least eight points. Taylor Janssen, who scored nine points, credited the team’s confidence in creating a balanced attack. “I think everyone on the court is prepared to knock down a shot, and we’re always thinking the next shot, so even if we missed the shot prior it’s always, the next one’s going in, the next one’s going in,” she said. “We all have confidence in ourselves and in our teammates to do that. The bench is bringing a bunch of energy in, and once we do hit a three that kind of energy starts us rolling.”
After beating WSU 102-53 on Thursday, Montana State started slowly on Saturday. The Bobcats led just 19-17 after a first quarter in which they shot 37% to Weber’s 45.5%. Binford credited the Wildcats with keeping things close early. “I thought they came out super aggressive, attacked, penetrated hard,” she said. “I didn’t think we were disciplined with our stances or how our rotations were going, we were fouling at will and putting them on the line early in the bonus too early. That’s a lack of discipline on our part, but credit Weber State for coming out super aggressive.”
At the point of MSU’s second quarter run, the Bobcats were shooting just 8-for-27 from the floor. From then on, MSU hit 19 of its 34 field goal attempts. The difference, Binford said, was shot selection. “We saw in the first quarter into the second quarter that (players weren’t taking) a great shot for the team, but those (midway through the second quarter) were all great shots for the team.”
Montana State limited WSU to 11-of-36 shooting in the game’s final three quarters, and forced 19 Wildcat turnovers. Those miscues led to 27 Bobcat points. In the middle two quarters, when the Bobcats put the game out of reach, Weber State scored just 16 total points.
The win pushes MSU’s record to 11-5 overall, 8-2 in Big Sky play. Weber State is now 0-13 on the season, 0-10 in the league. The Bobcats visit Eastern Washington next Thursday (7 pm MT) and Saturday (1 pm MT).