BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State seniors Fallyn Freije and Oliana Squires each posted their 1,000th career points and the Bobcats shot a torrid 55.9 percent from the field to cruise to a 91-65 win over Southern Utah on Saturday afternoon in Worthington Arena.
The Bobcat victory, coupled by a Montana loss to Northern Colorado puts MSU atop the Big Sky Conference standings with a 4-0 record.
Montana State (8-5, 4-0) opened the first quarter connecting on 11-of-16 from the field to build a 27-12 advantage after the opening 10 minutes. Trailing by 17 with two-minutes, 58-seconds left in the half, Southern Utah (7-5, 1-2) closed out the frame on an 8-0 run and the Bobcats held a 41-32 lead at intermission.
“It was a great start,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “We’ve played four games in eight days and the kids were kind of in a groove and had a little bit of a rhythm. We attacked the paint from the start and got a lead, but with Southern Utah you’re never really out of the woods. They got back in it as we went a little bit flat, but we responded with a great third quarter.”
The Bobcats built a 22-point lead in the third period as Madeline Smith converted an old-fashion 3-point play at the 3:17 mark. MSU took its largest lead at 81-51 following a pair of Squires free throws with 6:03 left. The Cats cruised down the stretch.
Squires, a product of Colorado Springs, Colo., scored her 1,000th point on a layup with 2:16 left in the first half. Squires became just the 24th Bobcat in history to reach the milestone. Freije, who transferred to MSU after three years at North Dakota, registered her 1,000th point at the 8:07 mark of the third quarter on a jumper in the paint.
“It’s a special feat (to reach 1,000 points),” Binford said. “It shows kids impacting a program for multiple years and their scoring ability. And, to have two kids on the same team is really unusual and it’s rare. They’re both powerful scorers in different ways. They both have some special game and it was fun to see both of them achieve the mark.”
Freije, the league preseason player of the year, finished with a game-high 20 points. MSU senior Martha Kuderer scored 19 while freshman Darian White 13 scored and Squires scored 11.
Kuderer, who was coming off a 17-point performance against Northern Colorado on Thursday, didn’t miss a shot connecting on 7-of-7 from the field, 3-of-3 from long distance and 2-of-2 at the line. For the weekend, Kuderer shot 88.2 percent from the field.
As a team, the Bobcats shot a season-high 55.9 percent from the floor and converted 33-59 attempts. MSU also finished 52.9 percent from beyond the arc and went 16-18 at the free throw line.
MSU held a slight 36-33 advantage under the boards led by Freije with nine rebounds, while Smith added five.
Madelyn Eaton scored 13 points to lead Southern Utah.
Montana State will host Idaho on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Worthington Arena.
Press release courtesy of Tom Shulz – Montana State Sports Information. Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.