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MISSOULA -- Lexie Nelson came back home and got the best of the Montana State Bobcats.

Nelson, a former Butte High standout and Montana Lady Griz player, had 18 points Wednesday to lead Eastern Washington to a 68-53 first-round victory over MSU at the Big Sky Conference women's basketball tournament at Dahlberg Arena.

Nelson, who transferred to Eastern from Montana two years ago, was one of five Eagles in double figures. Laura Hughes came off the bench to score 13 points, while Kylie Huerta and Aubrey Ashenfelter each added 12.

Huerta also had nine assists and six steals.

Third-seeded EWU (19-11) advanced to Friday's semifinal round, where it will play No. 2 seed Northern Colorado.

“We were undisciplined,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We had turnovers on our end and Eastern Washington was a half-step ahead of us on the other.”

Sixth-seeded Montana State (17-13) had a five-point lead midway through the first half, but the Eagles took control and eventually grabbed an 18-point second-half lead.

Ashley Brumwell, Rachel Semansky and Kalli Durham all scored eight points to pace the Bobcats.

Northern Colorado opened the tournament with a 67-56 first-round victory Wednesday over Southern Utah. The Bears and Eagles will play Friday at 11 a.m.

Tourney host and top-seeded Montana (22-7) had a first-round bye. The Lady Griz will play fifth-seeded Sacramento State, a 73-60 winner over Idaho State on Wednesday, in a semifinal game at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Northern Colorado 67, Southern Utah 56

D’shara Strange scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead second-seeded Northern Colorado over No. 7 seed Southern Utah.

Strange hit 8 of 22 shots and 9 of 11 free throws for the Bears (19-11). Three others scored in double figures for Northern Colorado, including Victoria Timm, who hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and eight assists.

Carli Moreland came off the bench to get 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for Southern Utah (15-16).

Sacramento State 73, Idaho State 60

Kylie Kuhns posted a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds to help push Sacramento State past Idaho State.

Kuhns, the Big Sky’s all-time leading rebounder, had five offensive rebounds for the Hornets (19-11), who outscored the Bengals 40-26 in the second half. Alle Moreno tallied 12 points for Sac State.

Idaho State (18-12) was led by Jessa Jeppesen’s 14 points and 14 rebounds. Lindsey Reed had a game-high 17 points for the Bengals.

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