Big Sky Conference

Bobcat women close out 2018 with win over NAU

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Dec. 31, 2018 – BOZEMAN, Mont. – Claire Lundberg and Oliana Squires each went over the 20-point plateau, while Blaire Braxton provided the spark off the bench with 13 points and seven rebounds as Montana State closed out the year with an 80-70 victory over Northern Arizona on Monday night in Worthington Arena.

Montana State (7-5, 2-0) built a 10-point lead at intermission as Lundberg paced the Bobcats with 12 points.

MSU pushed its lead to 50-34 with 1:59 left in the third quarter on a Squires’ triple.

The ‘Cats took their largest lead at 57-40 with 8:22 remaining on a Braxton jump hook. Northern Arizona (4-7, 0-2) whittled the margin down to seven points at the 2:42 mark, but Montana State connected on 10-of-10 from the line down the stretch to secure the win.

“I’m proud of our fight and I’m loving our bench contribution right now,” MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. “We’ve had two games with some foul trouble that we’ve had to work through and we’ve had some players step-up. I feel like we’re building some chemistry.

“I love how we finished both games this last week and I think we’ve been really confident down the stretch of what we’ve needed to do,” she added. “We certainly are going to have to clean up some things on the defensive end. We are just trying to keep it as simple as possible for our kids to battle, compete and play hard.”

Lundberg finished with 24 points, while Squires matched a career-high 21 points, including a nine-of-10 effort from the free throw line. Martha Kuderer was the fourth Bobcat to reach double-digits with 12 points, while guiding MSU under the glass with a team-best eight rebounds.

The Bobcats shot 41.7 percent from the field, including 53.8 percent in the fourth quarter. MSU also converted 12-of-13 charity tosses in the final frame, as well.

Lauren Orndoff led NAU with 14 points and six assists.

MSU will play at Portland State on Thursday night.

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