Big Sky Conference

Idaho State smothers Lady Griz in Pocatello


Montana shot 25.9 percent and turned the ball over 21 times to fall at Idaho State on Thursday night, losing 50-34 to the Bengals at Reed Gym in Pocatello.

It marked the fewest points scored by the Lady Griz since a season-opening 52-34 loss at UC Riverside in 2010-11 and the fewest points ever allowed by Idaho State when facing a Division I opponent.

“It was not a pretty basketball game,” UM head coach Shannon Schweyen said. “It was a struggle to find anyone who could come in and give us a lift.”

Five days after a thrilling 82-79 victory over Idaho, Montana shot 3 for 17 in the opening quarter. The Lady Griz finished 14-of-54 from the floor and scored eight points in three of the four quarters. UM scored 10 points in the second quarter.

Montana used a McKenzie Johnston 3-pointer and a Jace Henderson buzzer-beater to close the half down 21-18. Gabi Harrington made it a 7-0 run and made it 21-20 when she opened the third quarter with a short jumper, but Kenyon scored, Estefania Ors hit a three and Kenyon scored again to up the lead to 28-20.

Montana cut its deficit to five late in the third and again early in the fourth, but the Lady Griz closed the game missing 11 of their final 13 shots and Idaho State went 7 for 8 from the line down the stretch.

“Even on their end, they were struggling,” said Schweyen, whose defense held the Big Sky’s top shooting team to 33.3 percent. “We kept hanging around and had them in the 30s forever. It was an ugly battle to see who could finally put the ball in the hole in the fourth quarter.

Kenyon, Saylair Grandon and Callie Bourne each scored 11 points as Idaho State moved to 6-2 in league, 11-6 overall. Montana is 4-4 in the Big Sky, 9-8 overall.

Idaho State point forward Saylair Grandon (3), pictured here last season season/ by Brooks Nuanez

Henderson, coming off a 31-point game against the Vandals, scored the opening points on Thursday, but she was surrounded by Bengals for most of it and finished with six points on 3-of-8 shooting.

Needing to score from the perimeter to loosen up Idaho State’s defense, Montana went 3 for 21 from the arc.

“I don’t think we adjusted well to what they were doing,” said Schweyen. “We needed to knock down some perimeter shots and we had kids hesitating to do that.

“And nobody was getting rebound put-backs. There is nothing better when you’re struggling than to have someone bust in and put one in. That was another area we didn’t do well in tonight.”

Sammy Fatkin, who scored 19 on Saturday, hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored a team-high 10 points. Nobody else scored more than six.

“Sammy gave us a lift and had some big buckets,” said Schweyen. “Otherwise it was throwing everybody in there and trying to get somebody to give us a little something. It was not our night.

“We’re not going to overthink this one. It was just a bad night for us. On to the next one.”

Montana (9-8, 4-4 BSC) will face Weber State (4-14, 1-7 BSC) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Odgen. The Wildcats gave away a 10-point halftime lead and fell 66-59 at home to Montana State on Thursday.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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