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Like their male counterparts did a week earlier, Montana State’s women won their first two games of the Big Sky Conference season last weekend after and rough 0-3 start. Much of that success was due to the play of some veterans, as well as some rising stars.

Freshman guard Katie Bussey and sophomore forward Sarah Strand each scored 18 points in Saturday’s 71-52 victory over Idaho State at Worthington Arena. Bussey, from Alamosa, Colo., was making just her second career start. She raised her per-game scoring average to 9.4, fourth-best on the team. Strand, from Seattle, added a career-high five 3-pointers on Friday.

Two nights earlier in a 65-62 win over Weber State at home, it was the veterans that led the way, particularly forward Nubia Garcia and guard Erica Perry scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. Garcia added 13 rebounds while junior guard Jenny Heringer added nine boards.

The 6-foot-2 Garcia, who also had 16 rebounds in Saturday’s win, was named the league's player of the week on Monday. The Chihuahua, Mexico, native averaged a double-double in two games at 10.5 points and 14.5 rebounds. Garcia shot nearly 44 percent from the field. Garcia is currently leading the Big Sky in rebounding at 8.8 per contest. Her 16-rebound performance on Saturday, which was a career-high, was the second-highest single-game total in the league this season.

Montana State improved its record to 8-9 and, at 2-3 in the conference and pulled into a three-way tie with Idaho State and Northern Arizona for fifth place in the standings.

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