BOZEMAN — The Montana State women’s basketball team kicked off its season on Sunday with a dominant 84-72 win over North Dakota thanks in large part to senior guard Tori Martell’s career day.
“It feels really good," Martell said after the win. "We finally got the first-game jitters out, we’re just starting to play together now and ... people had to step up (Sunday) and they stepped up and we came together and won. I feel like it was a good first team win.”
Coming into the season the Bobcats knew they would need the senior guard to step up in a big way.
“This team looks to somebody like Tori for a reason," said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. "She’s steady, she’s consistent, she’s super solid, she’s that example on both ends of the floor, and just what a great game to start us off this year.”
Step up, she did. The 3-point sniper hit 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc. The eight 3-pointers broke the Montana State school record for most in a game.
“I didn’t even realize it until 30 seconds left and Ava (Ranson) was like, 'Congrats, dude.' I’m like, 'Dude, we haven’t won yet, what are you talking about?' And she’s like, 'You broke the school shooting record.' So, I didn't even realize it until the end of the game,” Martell said.
When Martell gets going, it sets the tempo for the rest of the team.
“A lot of the time they don’t like the layups so we just kick it out to (Martell)," sophomore guard Darian White said. "We trust her, and if she doesn’t shoot that I’m going to be mad. But it’s nice, though -- it gets us going, for sure.”
One thing Martell worked on in the offseason was not hesitating and just shooting the ball when she has an open look at the basket.
“I think going into this year coach Binford emphasized that people are going to know I’m a shooter and they’re going to guard me a little tighter, so taking any open look I can get,” said Martell.
Despite breaking the record, the senior guard was happier to come away with a win in the season opener.
“It felt so good," Martell said. "All the hard work we’ve been putting in these last however many months -- in and out of the court, in and out of the gym, in and out of quarantine. Just getting to play that first game is so special, it was a good day, we got the win, that’s all that matters.”