BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State overcame a slow start with a commanding second quarter, en route to a 79-47 victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday afternoon in Worthington Arena.
Montana State (15-6, 11-1) trailed Eastern Washington (2-19, 1-11) by two-points after the opening 10-minutes, before using a 14-2 run to start the second frame sparked by Fallyn Freije’s seven-point output. The Bobcats closed out the quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 41-22 advantage into halftime.
“We just made a ton of errors in the first quarter and most of that was on us,” MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. “We had a lot of travel calls and we put ourselves in some bad situations, but we cleaned that up and got them off the board in the second half.”
MSU outscored EWU 27-6 in the second period, shooting 64.3 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the three-point arc and connecting on seven-of-11 from the free throw line. The Bobcats defense allowed the Eagles to just 8.3 percent from the floor in the second stanza.
Montana State built its largest lead of the contest at 77-44 with 2:07 remaining in the game on a pair of Madison Jackson free throws.
“After the first 10-minutes we did a nice job sharing the ball and moving the ball,” Binford said. “At halftime we addressed the ball getting a little bit stagnant on the perimeter and going up against a zone it was important to get some post touches to open up some shots.”
MSU senior Martha Kuderer led three Bobcats in double-figure scoring with 15 points, including a five-of-10 effort from the field and four 3-pointers. Tori Martell finished with 14 points, including a four-of-six effort from long distance, while Oliana Squires posted 10 points with two 3-pointers.
For the game, MSU connected on 11-23 from beyond the arc, while limiting Eastern Washington to just three-of-13. In their first meeting this season, the Eagles tallied a school-record 17 three-pointers against the Cats.
MSU dished out a season-high 21 assists on 28 made field-goals. Squires registered a game-high six assists to pace MSU. The Bobcats also held a commanding 43-28 advantage under the boards. Freije guided MSU with nine rebounds, while Blaire Braxton pulled down seven and Jackson six.
“It was a big week for us,” Binford said. “I think February is a big month. Obviously, every single game is a grind. But at this time of year you got to love the people you’re around and you got to be really excited to be in a gym and be attack-minded, while getting better every day.”
MSU’s win coupled by an Idaho loss puts the Bobcats 2 and 1/2 games up on the rest of the Big Sky Conference field. Montana State will play at Idaho State on Thursday.
Press release courtesy of Tom Shulz – Montana State Sports Informations.
Main photos courtesy of Jack Murray – Montana State Sports Informations. Other photos attribution noted. All Rights Reserved.