BOZEMAN, Mont. – A pair of free throws by Idaho’s Natalie Klinker with 46 seconds remaining in double overtime was the difference as the Vandals handed Montana State a 69-68 setback for MSU’s first loss in Big Sky Conference play Thursday night in Worthington Arena.
Idaho (8-5, 3-1) needed a 3-pointer from Beyonce Bea with 16 seconds left in regulation to even the score at 54-all as the Vandals came back from a six-point deficit with four-minutes, 51-seconds remaining following a Madison Jackson three-pointer.
Montana State (8-6, 4-1) held a three-point lead with 51 seconds left in the first overtime on another Jackson triple, but UI’s Gina Marxen answered with a 3-pointer of her own with 24 seconds left to put the contest into a second extra period.
The Bobcats struggled shooting the ball for most of the game hitting at a 34.2 percent clip from the field, including a 6-of-20 effort from beyond the arc. In addition, MSU was outscored 23-16 on second chance baskets as the Vandals corralled eight offensive boards after halftime.
“They got some timely offensive second chance opportunities and we had some breakdowns,” MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. “The second opportunities were really the critical piece. When you give them that second opportunity it makes it hard to get that contested shot, but there wasn’t a lack of effort on this team. We did a lot of things right, but we just had a little problem putting the ball in the bucket on the offensive end.
“I liked our fight and how hard we competed,” Binford added. “Not every night is going to be your night on the offensive end, so we’ll get rebooted and get ready for Saturday.”
Montana State held a one-point lead after the opening quarter, but Idaho entered intermission with a 31-29 advantage. The game featured eleven lead changes and 13 ties.
Senior Madeline Smith with team-high 15 points for Montana State. Classmates Oliana Squires and Fallyn Freije also recorded double figure scoring outputs with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Bobcats held a slim 51-49 advantage under the glass as Freije hauled down a team-best nine rebounds, while Smith pulled down seven boards.
Bea led Idaho with 26 points.
Montana State will play at Portland State on Saturday at 3 p.m. (MT).
Press release courtesy of Tom Shulz – Montana State Sports Information.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.