Lady Griz Ride into Big Sky Title Game

By Beacon Staff

The University of Montana Lady Griz advanced to the title game of the Big Sky Conference women’s tournament with a 74-53 victory over No. 5 Sacramento State Friday afternoon in a semifinal matchup at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula.

The No. 1-seed Lady Griz (23-7) advanced to face No. 2 Northern Colorado (20-11) in Saturday’s title game. The Bears held off No. 3 Eastern Washington 70-64 in overtime in Friday’s opening semifinal.

Montana and Northern Colorado, who split their regular-season series, with each team winning at home, will tip off at 2 p.m. Saturday’s winner will earn the Big Sky’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Hornets (19-12) had won five of their previous six games, including an 80-71 victory over Montana last Saturday at Sacramento, Calif.

A crowd of 3,331 fans turned out for Montana’s first home tournament game since 2009.

Senior Katie Baker scored a game-high 17 points and in the process moved up to No. 5 on the Montana career scoring list, and the Lady Griz enjoyed a balanced offensive attack, with the team’s starters scoring 41 points and the bench adding 33.

Junior Jordan Sullivan finished with eight points. Sophomore Kellie Cole came off the bench to score 12 points, sophomore Maggie Rickman added nine on 4-of-5 shooting, and 10 different players scored.

Montana went 6 for 12 from 3-point range in the first half, and the Lady Griz held Sac State to 26.5-percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes to take control.

Alle Moreno led Sac State with 14 points, but the Big Sky Conference’s top scoring team was held to 28.1-percent shooting and never got on track.

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