MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) – A cold-shooting spell spoiled first-year Montana State coach Robin Poteras Cat-Griz debut, while Montana coach Robin Selvig credited his teams defense for the win.
Hollie Tyler had 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots Friday in Montanas 63-50 victory over Montana State.
Montana (15-5 overall, 7-0 Big Sky) used a 21-5 run in the second half to pull away and remain unbeaten in the league standings.
The Lady Griz led 31-25 at halftime before Isabel Stubbs, who returned after missing a month with a knee injury, scored two straight baskets to pull MSU within 31-29 with 19:13 remaining.
Tyler made a basket and two free throws to give UM a 35-31 lead a minute later.
MSU (11-9, 5-2) got within 42-41 on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Candis Wilcox with 12:42 remaining, but the Bobcats went cold.
We pulled within one and had open looks, if we just could have knocked a couple of them down, Potera lamented.
While Montana was on its scoring run, which included 13 free throws, MSU only made five free throws.
Potera noted MSU had one foul in the first half and 14 in the second.
It was two different games, she said. Thats just based on these statistics.
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The Lady Griz took a 63-46 lead on two free throws by Julie Deming with 2:24 remaining.
We got in foul trouble, where we could barely touch them, said MSU guard Rebecca Alvidrez.
Selvig had a different opinion on why MSU suffered its scoring drought.
We got ahead of them more from our defense than from a couple of runs, Selvig said. It didnt seem like they got a lot of looks. I thought we defended much better.
Also in double figures for Montana were Deming with 12 and Cheryl Keller with 10.
Our defensive intensity picked up in the second half, said Keller, who had four steals and four assists.
Kati Burrows scored 11 of her 12 points in the first half for MSU, while Jessica Blake added 10 points, seven below her season average.
We didnt come out ready, in the second half, Burrows said. We didnt do what we did in the first half.
MSU took a 21-19 lead on a basket by Burrows with 7:25 to play, and the Bobcats led 23-22 on two free throws by Burrows with 6:36 remaining.
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