MISSOULA — Cold shooting and a hyper-motivated foe doomed the Montana women's basketball team Monday night.
Junior forward Tatiana Streun scored 30 points and her Portland State team held off the Lady Griz for a 78-65 win in front of a sparse crowd at Viking Pavilion in Portland, Oregon. Montana shot 28 percent from the floor (21 for 75).
From the beginning it was obvious the defending Big Sky Conference tourney champion Viks were determined to atone for Saturday's home loss to Montana State. They jumped to a 17-9 lead and Montana, who missed 9 of its first 10 shots, never did get closer than four points.
"We got so many good shots in the first half in the paint and none of those would go down," Montana coach Shannon Schweyen told KMPT radio after her team hit just 8 of 35 attempts in spotting the Viks a 39-22 halftime lead.
"Shooting 22 percent (first half) you're lucky to even have a chance to get back in it. I was proud to cut it to four but we couldn't close the gap any more."
Montana fell to 4-2 in league play an 9-6 overall. Portland State boosted its record to 3-3, 9-7.
The Lady Griz did make a gallant comeback in the second half. They started the third quarter with an 8-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer by McKenzie Johnston.
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Portland State's lead was 52-44 heading into the final quarter and the hosts stretched it to 56-44 before Montana came to life. Taylor Goligoski's triple cut Montana's deficit to 58-52 with just under 5 minutes left, then it looked like the Lady Griz would draw even closer when Madi Schoening stepped to the free throw line with 4:31 left.
Schoening missed both attempts, but Johnston picked up the Lady Griz once again with a 3-ball from the corner with 3:09 left. That cut Portland State's lead to 59-55 but Montana couldn't get the stops it needed. Struen hit a pair of free throws after being fouled by Schoening, Johnston missed a 3-ball and the Viks finished strong.
"You have to stay with them," Schweyen said of Portland State, who shot 46.9 percent for the game (23 for 49) and held a 30-23 edge in points in the paint. "They were dumping in there (in the paint) and they were getting secondary cutters in there and we were falling asleep. That was bad on our part."
Montana lost despite a gaudy 50-33 edge in rebounds. Portland State 6-foot-4 center Jordan Stotler was a force in the Viks' zone defense, prowling the middle and piling up six blocked shots.
Johnston led the Lady Griz with 16 points and six assists. Schoening came off the bench to record a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Streun was one of four Portland Stare players to score in double figures. Freshman Belle Frazier added 13 points, Stotler 12 and Kylie Jimenez 10.
Montana had a 4 a.m. wake-up call in Portland Tuesday, catching a plane back to Missoula. The Lady Griz will get some rest and hit the road again with a game at Idaho Saturday.