Despite the University of Idaho’s persistence and three-point shots, Montana’s high shooting percentage and defense outpaced the Vandals to win 69-60 in front of over 2,700 fans at Dahlberg Arena.
“They’ve got confidence right now,” said head coach Shannon Schweyen. “They know they’re a good team, and when we are playing with that kind of intensity we can play anyone.”
Idaho came into the contest ranked 2nd in the Big Sky Conference and beat the Lady Griz by one point last month in Moscow.
This game was Montana’s second consecutive win and moved the Lady Griz to an 8-5 conference record.
The Vandals took an early lead in the game, leading 16-8 at the biggest gap in the score in the first quarter. Montana battled back at the end of the first quarter with a pair of shots from redshirt junior guard Gabi Harrington, finishing with a 22-19 lead.
Harrington came off the bench to lead the team with 11 points in the first half.
The second quarter was weak for Idaho, only scoring 4 points, partially due to Montana opting to move into a zone defense. The Vandals shot at 18.2 percent from the field.
At half, Montana led 36-26.
The third quarter became a back-and-forth struggle between aggressive defenses and fast breaks down the court, as turnovers on both sides fueled the speed of the game.
The fast-paced environment favored Montana, whose deep bench contributed 30 points for the Lady Griz, compared to 11 bench points for Idaho.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in the game, we’re all going to play hard and support each other,” sophomore Kylie Frohlich said.
Frohlich scored four points off the bench and also contributed to the game by generating three assists and four rebounds.
“Once we started getting in the groove we never let up on them, which I think is the best part,” Frohlich said.
A long arching three-point shot from senior Taylor Goligoski put the Lady Griz up 49-37 with 3:05 left in the third quarter, and Montana took control from there.
Senior Johnston added to Montana with 6 points in the fourth quarter and shot with 100% accuracy. She finished with 16 points and led the team in scoring with sophomore Abby Anderson.
A monster block by Anderson capped off the Lady Griz game as she took it to the other hoop, and made the score 66-54. They ended the game 69-60.
Montana will hit the road next week, playing at Weber State on Feb. 13, and at Idaho State on Feb 15.