Vandals battle down to the wire, edged by the Griz
MISSOULA, Mont. — In a hard fought battle on the road, Idaho women’s basketball (7-8, 4-2 Big Sky) dropped a tough, 82-79, decision to Montana (9-7, 4-3 Big Sky) Saturday in Dahlberg Arena.
Senior Taylor Pierce paced the Vandals with 28 points on 10-of-22 from the field and 8-of-15 from three. Right behind her was Mikayla Ferenz who notched her fifth career double-double with 20 points and ten rebounds. She also added five assists.
In a game that was not decided until the final seconds, both teams fought for every point knowing that each one mattered. The Griz got off to a hot start in the first half, putting together a complete 20 minutes of play as they outscored the Vandals by two points in each frame.
While Montana led at the end of the first quarter 17-15, the Vandals used a 12-5 run to gain their first lead, 27-22, of the game. The lead was short-lived as the Griz clawed their way back ending the half up, 40-36.
The Vandals continued to make up ground in the second half and took a 52-48 lead off of a 9-0 run highlighted by the Splash Sisters in the third quarter. Montana would break the run in the next play. The lead changed two more times before a three-ball from Taylor Pierce at the third-quarter buzzer tied game, 60-60.
In a back-and-forth final quarter, the game came down to wire as the score deadlocked at 73-73 with less than two minutes left in regulation. After a Montana timeout, the Griz quickly took a five-point lead, 78-73. With time against them, the Vandals found opportunities but could not convert it to points on the board. Able to hold off Idaho in the final seconds, Montana increased their advantage at the free-throw line to clinch the 82-79 victory.
Lizzy Klinker . Klinker had a career night in front of a hometown crowd. She was three boards shy of a double-double collecting seven rebounds and 14 points on the night. The Fairfield, Mont. native shot 7-of-9 from the floor and added one assist after fouling out in the fourth quarter.
It is the third time Pierce has just missed tying record of threes in a single game with eight on the night.
Ferenz collected the fifth double-double of her career and first this season.
Idaho was out-rebounded by three, 38-35.
THE QUOTE– Jon Newlee
“What I saw tonight was a very physical basketball game. It was a war in the paint, and it seems as though we have to get tougher to get the free-throw line. Unfortunately, we could not keep our best post defenders in the game.”
[On Jace Henderson, led all scorers with 31 points] “She was able to displace and get to her spot. She banged players around and when you’re allowed to do that you are going to score a lot of points and that is what she did.”
“In fourth, we had some shots go in-and-out in the final seconds, but it never comes down to the last possession. I thought we ran our play and got some good looks down the stretch, but unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. That was a heck of basketball game. It is the Big Sky, and you have to come ready to bring it every night. Now we get to go back home and defend our home floor like Montana did tonight.”
BIG SKY ON DECK
Women’s Hoops return to the Spectrum next week against Sacramento State on Jan 24 and Portland State later in the week on Jan 26.