Big Sky Conference

Bobcats take air out of Eagles

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CHENEY, Wash. – Montana State point guard Hannah Caudill was under the weather all week heading into MSU’s road series at Idaho and Eastern Washington. The Spokane product showed no signs of being quarantined from the team bus with a career-high 23 points, including a school-record matching seven 3-pointers, as the Bobcats cruised past Eastern Washington 72-61, Saturday afternoon at Reese Court.

“Hannah had a fantastic weekend leading the team,” said MSU 12th-year head coach Tricia Binford after her team earned its first road sweep of the Big Sky Conference season. “We made it a point of emphasis to turn the corner in taking care of the ball versus pressure teams. I’m proud that we came away from the weekend with two of our lowest turnover games.”

The opening period featured six lead changes and three ties before a Peyton Ferris free throw gave the Bobcats a one-point advantage. Montana State (15-5, 8-2) used an 11-2 run midway through the second frame to open up a 33-22 lead following an Oliana Squires layup with 3:31 left in the half.

Eastern Washington (11-9, 6-3) whittled the lead to three-points at intermission closing the quarter on a 12-4 run. The Eagles were able to get back into the game under the boards, out-rebounding the Bobcats 20-13 in the first 20-minutes.

“We challenged them at halftime about our rebounding,” Binford said. “We didn’t win the boards, but I thought our third quarter effort was tremendous.”

MSU out-scored EWU 19-6 in the third quarter, holding the Eagles to 18.8 percent from the field. Caudill and senior Riley Nordgaard jump started the Bobcat surge combining on three-of-five 3-point attempts. Montana State held a 16-point cushion heading into the final stanza.

The Bobcats took their largest lead at 61-42 with 8:22 remaining on a Delany Junkermier jumper, and cruised down the stretch for its fourth consecutive win, and its first Big Sky Conference road sweep of the season.

Caudill finished connecting on seven-of-11 from beyond the arc and added a game-high seven assists. Nordgaard also hit double-digits with 16, including four 3-pointers. Ferris, Junkermier and Madeline Smith all ended with eight points, apiece.

“Eastern Washington attacked our post play well,” Binford said. “I thought the team responded well to find the open shooters. Both Hannah and Riley were hot which helped us get off to a great start, especially in the third quarter.”

Tisha Phillips led EWU with 18 points and four assists.

Montana State will play at Montana, Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m., in Missoula.

Press release courtesy of Tom Schulz – Montana State Sports Information. All Rights Reserved. 

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