MISSOULA — Montana raced out to a 20-point halftime and led by a comfortable margin the entire second half to snap its two-game losing streak with a convincing 67-48 victory over Idaho State Thursday night at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula.
The Lady Griz (10-6, 4-3 BSC) won for the 14th time in their last 15 games at home and improved to 36-2 all-time against the Bengals (5-11, 3-4 BSC) in Missoula.
Montana was slow out of the gate, with just two field goals in the opening four and a half minutes, but a 3-pointer by McCalle Feller less than a minute after she checked into the game sparked the Lady Griz offense, and Montana rolled to a 35-15 halftime lead.
The Lady Griz built their advantage with a lockdown effort on the defensive end and efficient play on the offensive end.
Facing the Big Sky’s leading defense, the Bengals hit just four first-half baskets and shot 17.4 percent.
Carly Selvig swatted three first-half shots, and Montana held ISU senior guard Lindsey Reed, who was averaging a team-high 14.9 points entering the game, without a point through the opening 20 minutes.
On the other end, the Lady Griz committed just two first-half turnovers and shot 39.4 percent while getting scoring from seven different players. Jordan Sullivan scored 10 first-half points.
“We had a great first half on the defensive end. We came out ready to go and communicated and worked hard. Carly took away the inside in the first half, and they struggled,” UM coach Robin Selvig said.
“We didn’t have much scoring to start with, but McCalle hit a couple against their zone to get us going.”
The second-half lead reached 30 points, 67-37, when freshman Kayleigh Valley hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 to go, but those would be Montana’s final points as ISU ended the game on an 11-0 run to close the final margin to 19 points.
Sullivan finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, and her 3-for-3 effort from 3-point range makes her 13 for 17 (.765) from the arc the last six games.
Redshirt junior Kellie Cole had 11 points, and Selvig was a factor on both ends, finishing with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists.
Valley, who had a season-high 10 points in Saturday’s 57-54 loss at Northern Colorado, had her second nice offensive outing in two games with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
She hit both of her attempts from 3-point range as Montana finished with 11 for the game, one off its season high.
Montana had 18 assists and a season-low five turnovers while shooting 38.5 percent.
Kara Jenkins and Jessica Tingey both scored 10 points, but they couldn’t make up for the lack of production from Reed, who did not score until the 13:15 mark of the second half and finished with a season-low five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Idaho State shot 44.8 percent in the second half to finish at 32.7 for the game.
Montana’s four-game home stand will continue Saturday afternoon when the Lady Griz host Weber State (4-12, 0-7 BSC) at 2 p.m. The Wildcats lost at Montana State Thursday night 87-71 for their 45th straight Big Sky Conference loss.
In other league games Thursday, Northern Colorado won 86-82 in overtime at Northern Arizona, Southern Utah won 69-60 at home over Portland State, and Sacramento State won 110-104 at home over North Dakota.
— Montana Sports Information