(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
BOZEMAN — Montana State needed thirty minutes to find its groove en route to a 75-60 win over Weber State on Thursday night in Worthington Arena to remain atop the Big Sky Conference standings.
For the first three quarters neither team mounted much offense as Montana State (17-8, 10-3) found itself down by six points on two occasions in the first half. Weber State (5-19, 1-11) held a 28-26 lead at intermission as both teams connected on 10-of-29 from the field.
With under three-minutes left in the third quarter, MSU used a 5-0 run to close out the period taking a 42-37 into the final frame.
Darian White opened the fourth quarter with four consecutive points to put the Bobcats up by nine. Following a WSU basket by Lauren Taylor with 8 minutes, 47 seconds left, the Bobcats, behind White’s effort, rattled off an 11-0 run and cruised to the win.
White scored seven points and finished with 17 in the fourth period alone. White’s 17 points in the quarter established a new Bobcat record as she connected on six-of-seven from the floor and five-of-seven at the line. The Boise, Idaho product had one-point at halftime on zero-of-six from the field but finished with a game-high 23 points.
“We were not a very disciplined team for three quarters,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We had no energy and were too emotional. We lacked focus.
“I thought we finally started picking things up on the defensive end in the third quarter, and that sparked our offense,” Binford added. “Our point play, especially Darian, took things up a notch in the fourth. However, we need to work on being better prepared mentally from the opening tip.”
All 12 Bobcat players scored, as MSU finished the game shooting 44.6% from the field, including a 71.4% performance in the fourth quarter. Aside from White, the only other Bobcat in double-digits was Grace Beasely who came off the bench for 12 points.
The Bobcats ended the game converting 23-of-29 from the free throw line. Both teams combined for 31 free throw attempts in the final quarter as MSU matched a season-high 33-point output in the final 10-minutes.
Montana State also owned the boards outrebounding the Wildcats 40-32. The Bobcats were paced on the glass by Kola Bad Bear with six rebounds.
With the victory, Binford moved past former Weber State head coach Carla Taylor into second on the all-time Big Sky coaching list with 309 wins, trailing only Montana’s Robin Selvig.
Daryn Hickok led WSU with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
MSU hosts Idaho State on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Worthington Arena. The Bengals upset Montana 55-54 on Thursday night in Missoula.