The Montana Lady Griz showed off their depth Monday, running Southern Utah off the court for a 79-57 win and an undefeated first weekend in Big Sky Conference play.
With starting point guard and leading scorer McKenzie Johnston out attending her sister’s wedding in Whitefish, several Lady Griz players stepped up.
Junior Emma Stockholm finished with 20 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes. Senior center Jace Henderson made 7-of-8 shots and recorded her second-straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Gabi Harrington also had 15 and 11.
“Great job by the ladies having confidence today,” UM head coach Shannon Schweyen said. “I’m very confident in who we have out there, that they can get out there and run this team. Those girls all have a lot of experience in practice and are really good basketball players.”
Southern Utah, also playing without their starting point guard, Rebecca Cardenas (concussion) led 23-19 after the first quarter. But Montana held the Thunderbirds scoreless for nearly the first six minutes of the second, going on a 16-0 run highlighted by two 3-pointers and eight total points from Stockholm.
“I just thought our intensity was good,” Schweyen said about the run. “We were playing a lot of kids, subbing a lot of kids in and out, and they were all taking and working together.”
Southern Utah cut the gap to six points at the half, but the Lady Griz pulled away again, and turned the game into a laugher with a 19-2 run midway through the fourth quarter.
With the confidence high in the middle of that run, Stockholm swatted a last-ditch 3-point attempt out of bounds, forcing a shot-clock violation, which was followed almost immediately by Harrington pulling up from the right wing and splashing a 3 for a 20-point lead.
It was an all-around domination for the Lady Griz, who shot an even 50 percent to Southern Utah’s 33.8 and out-rebounded the Thunderbirds 50 to 31.
The win, coupled with a 78-62 triumph over Northern Arizona on Saturday, gives Montana a 2-0 start to conference play and pushed the Lady Griz to 7-4 on the season.
They’ll travel to Sacramento State and Portland State this week, taking on the Hornets at 8 p.m. Thursday and the Vikings at 3 p.m. Saturday.