Big Sky Conference

EWU, Idaho lose, giving MSU women Big Sky title

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After Jasmine Hommes’ game-winning jump shot lipped out of the rim, Montana State knew it would need a serious stroke of luck to remain atop the Big Sky Conference.

On Friday night, Weber State and Idaho State each played a part in a wild finish to the league’s regular season. MSU fell 77-76 to North Dakota on Friday afternoon. Behind 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists from Britney Dunbar, Weber State posted an 80-73 win over Eastern Washington in Ogden. Brooke Blair hit five pointers, Apiphany Woods hit 9-of-11 shots for 21 points and Idaho State drilled Idaho 89-68.

The result meant the three top teams in the Big Sky posted 1-5 records in the final weekend of the reason. The losses by EWU and UI mean Montana State is the outright Big Sky champion, the first time the Bobcats have earned such distinction in school history. The win also guarantees MSU at least a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. MSU will have to win the Big Sky Tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Montana State will enter next week’s Big Sky Tournament in Reno as the top overall seed. The Bobcats will play Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. against the winter of eighth-seeded Northern Colorado and ninth-seeded Idaho State. UNC and ISU will open the tournament at 12:05 p.m. on Monday.

Despite losing twice this weekend — Eastern fell in Pocatello to suddenly surging ISU on Thursday — the Eagles take the tournament’s second seed. EWU will open the tournament on Wednesday at 5:35 p.m. The Eagles will play the winner of seventh-seeded Sacramento State and 10th-seeded Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds entered Saturday with a 1-16 league record but defeated Portland State 76-64 to vault from 12th to 10th. SUU and PSU will play at 5:35 p.m. on Monday.

Idaho’s two losses this weekend mean the Vandals will be the No. 3 seed. The Vandals will play Wednesday’s final game at 8:05 p.m. UI will face the winner of Weber State, who earned the six seed with the upset of EWU, and 11th-seeded Portland State. WSU and PSU face off at 8:05 p.m. on Monday.

North Dakota earns the No. 4 seed and the first-round bye that comes with it after winning for the 13th time in 15 outings. The Fighting Hawks will play at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday against the winner of No. 5 Montana and No. 12 Northern Arizona. UND and the Lady Griz tip at 2:35 on Monday.

Monday March 7

Game 1 — No. 8 Northern Colorado vs. No. 9 Idaho State, 12:05 p.m.

Game 2 — No. 5 Montana vs. No. 12 Northern Arizona, 2:35 p.m.

Game 3 — No. 7 Sacramento State vs. No. 10 Southern Utah, 5:35 p.m.

Game 4 — No. 6 Weber State vs. No. 11 Portland State, 8:05 p.m.

Wednesday March 9

Game 5 — No. 1 Montana State vs. winner of UNC-ISU, 12:05 p.m.

Game 6 — No. 4 North Dakota vs. winner of UM-NAU, 2:35 p.m.

Game 7 — No. 2 Eastern Washington vs. winner of Sac-SUU, 5:35 p.m.

Game 8 — No. 3 Idaho vs. winner of Weber-PSU, 8:05 p.m.

Friday March 11

Game 9 — winner of Game 5 vs. winner of Game 6, 12:05 p.m.

Game 10 — winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8, 2:35 p.m.

Saturday March 12

Championship, 12:05 p.m.

Final Big Sky women’s basketball standings

Montana State           14-4    21-8

Eastern Washington 13-5    19-10

Idaho                          13-5    21-9

North Dakota             13-5    17-12

Montana                     11-6    18-10

Weber State               11-7    19-10

Sacramento State      10-8    13-16

Northern Colorado    8-10    13-15

Idaho State                8-10    15-14

Southern Utah           2-16    4-24

Portland State           2-16    4-25

Northern Arizona      2-16    6-22

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 12 year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to founded Skyline Sports.

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