The University of Montana Lady Griz basketball team earned a win Thursday night in front of their crowd as they coasted by the Sacramento State Hornets 68-59.
Madi Schoening lit up the scoreboard early going six for six in the opening quarter to score 12 points and push Montana out to an early lead. Shut out in Montana’s last game at Northern Colorado on Saturday, Schoening wasn’t going to be stopped on Thursday night, she scored all six of her first-quarter baskets in the paint, blending touch with athleticism.
The Lady Griz started the game off going nine for 11 on it’s first shots to lead 25-8 at he end of the first quarter, shooting 71 percent while limiting the Hornets to just 12 shots. Montana continued on their shooting spree and by halftime it was 45-25, but no lead is ever safe against the Hornets who have the ability to hang in games with their changing pressure defense and 3-point shooting.
As the two teams played out the third quarter Sacramento State cut the lead to 11 late in the third period before Schoening’s hand heated back up scoring four points, and Sophia Stiles contributed a three pointer to give Montana a 60-42 lead going into the final frame. The Lady Griz struggled in the fourth quarter going 3-13 and with 1:13 left in the game the Hornets pulled to 65-57, but the Lady Griz where not done as McKenzie Johnston scored off a Stlies dish and secured the win for Montana.
Schoening dropped a season high 20 points and ripped down eight rebounds, six of which came on the offensive side of the court, Johnston contributed with 10 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals, and Jace Henderson earned her third double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds. As a team the Lady Griz owned the boards pulling in 23 offensive rebounds that led to 22 second chance points for Montana who struggled in the second half after shooting 27 percent in the third and fourth quarter combined.
The win puts Montana back on top tied for first place in the Big Sky Conference after being knocked out the top spot Saturday losing to Northern Colorado. Montana will host Portland State Saturday who have won six of their last seven games, tip off is scheduled for 2:00 pm at Dahlberg Arena.