Due to poor 3-point shooting and a less-than-stellar second half, the University of Montana women's basketball team lost to Sacramento State 65-58 in the first round of the Big Sky Conference tournament on March. 8.

“They made more shots than we did,” Montana head basketball coach Mike Petrino said. 

“It sucks,” junior guard Sophia Stiles added after the game. “Hopefully we can use this as motivation for next year.” 

The Lady Griz shot 4-31 from 3-point range and were outscored 38-28 by Sacramento State in the second half. 

Sacramento State was led in scoring by Summer Menke, who scored 18 points and added 14 rebounds.

Montana junior forward Abby Anderson was able to help the Lady Griz open up a lead in the game when she made a layup to put UM up 13-8. Anderson scored 14 points in the game and had two blocks. 

“We have the best fanbase and community and we never take that for granted,” Anderson said after the game.

By the end of the first quarter, Montana was on top 19-12. Sophomore forward Kylie Frohlich grabbed an offensive rebound later in the first half and put it in the hoop to stay in the lead, 30-23. Frohlich had 8 points and 10 rebounds in the game. 

By halftime, the Lady Griz only led 30-27. UM made 34.4% of its shots in the first half, compared to Sac State’s 32.4%. 

In the third quarter, Sacramento State was able to tie the game at 37 when Menke made two free throws. Anderson responded to Menkes scoring later in the quarter with a score of her own, putting the Lady Griz up 45-42. 

At the end of the third quarter, The Lady Griz led 45-44. 

Sacramento State’s best quarter was the fourth, making 53.8% of its shots. The Hornets forced Montana to convert on only 25% of its fourth quarter attempts. 

Montana allowed Sacramento State to go on a 9-0 scoring run early in the fourth quarter to put the Hornets on top 57-49.

Stiles made a clutch 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the game to decrease Sacramento State’s lead to only 62-58. Stiles finished with a team-high 17 points.

But the Lady Griz didn’t score for the rest of the game after Stiles’s 3-pointer and lost, 65-58.

The game was the last for Lady Griz senior guard Madi Schoening, who had 8 points and 6 rebounds. 

“She competes,” Petrino said about Schoening. “I’ll always remember her.” 

Montana hasn't won its first game in the tournament since 2018. The Lady Griz finished the year at 12-11 overall, 9-9 against Big Sky Conference teams and 0-1 in the conference tournament. 

Sacramento State was 2-21 before this game and is now 3-21. The Hornets advance to play Montana State in the conference finals.