Northern Colorado scored the game’s opening eight points, all at point-blank range, and would trail for just 69 seconds in handing Montana a 67-58 loss at Dahlberg Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears won for the seventh consecutive time over the Lady Griz. What made it surprising was that the teams entered the game on opposite trajectories.
Northern Colorado (6-6, 2-1 BSC) lost by 33 points at Montana State on Thursday night, while Montana (8-5, 3-1 BSC) came in on a four-game winning streak and was playing not just well but at home.
All five UNC starters scored in double figures, and Northern Colorado defended Montana into 30.5 percent shooting, well below its season percentage of 43.1. The Lady Griz went just 8 for 29 (.276) in the second half.
The Bears led 37-31 at the break and withstood every push Montana made in the second half.
“Credit to them. They defended us well. It’s tough to win those games when you shoot like that. The second half we just did not shoot well,” UM head coach Shannon Schweyen said after the Lady Griz played for the fourth time in eight days.
Montana senior Emma Stockholm scored 20 point before halftime. She went 5 for 7 from 3-point range and singlehandedly brought the Lady Griz back into the game after they fell behind 8-0 less than three minutes in.
“Emma was a huge lift for us. She knocked down a bunch of threes and played well,” Schweyen said.
The issue was the rest of the team, which shot 4 for 17 in the first half. And the Bears, who possibly won the game with their close to the first half.
Stockholm hit a pair of 3-pointers less than a minute apart late in the second quarter to give her 20 points and Montana just its second lead of the game, 31-30.
With all the noise Stockholm had created, UNC quietly scored the final seven points of the half to take a six-point lead to the locker room.
The game felt winnable for most of the second half. Indeed, the Bears built their lead to 10 just once. The rest of the time Montana’s deficit was in the single digits.
“It was a rough game. Our perimeter kids got good looks. Those are shots that typically go for us,” Schweyen said.
“We’re going to have nights like that, when we don’t shoot the ball well. We need to get more stops on defense to have a chance to hang around in a game like that against a good team.”
Stockholm would get just two shots in the second half, making one to finish with a career-high 22 points. No one else scored more than eight for Montana.
“They started bringing the double to her in the second half, and that slowed her down some,” said Schweyen.
Montana will host Eastern Washington (2-10, 1-2 BSC) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Press release by Joel Carlson – Montana Sports Information.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.