After losing to Southern Utah in the 2019 Big Sky Conference tournament, the Lady Griz looked to avenge their loss in the 2020 tournament. Unfortunately, the team was once again upset in its first game, falling to Northern Arizona 68-65 on March 10.
“At the end of the day you have to make buckets in March, and we made buckets tonight,“ said Northern Arizona head coach Loree Payne.
The Lady Griz started the game as the fourth seed in the Big Sky tournament while Northern Arizona was the fifth seed. Both teams secured a fourth-round bye in the tournament.
UM took an early grasp on the game when redshirt junior guard Gabi Harrington found redshirt sophomore guard Sophia Stiles for a layup to go up 17-11. Stiles finished the game with eight points and two steals.
The Lady Griz held a 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Northern Arizona pulled ahead of UM to take a 28-27 lead at halftime. The Lumberjacks only allowed the Griz to score eight points in the second quarter and didn’t allow them to score for the last five minutes of the quarter.
Northern Arizona pulled ahead of UM 45-37 late in the third quarter after redshirt sophomore forward Nina Radford made a 3-pointer. Radford finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Lumberjacks.
After Radford’s triple, UM redshirt sophomore forward Abby Anderson and senior forward Emma Stockholm made back-to-back layups to narrow the deficit to 45-41. Anderson scored 15 points for UM and Stockholm added 13 points and had seven rebounds.
Late in the fourth quarter, UM redshirt senior guard Taylor Goligoski made a 3-pointer to lessen Northern Arizona’s lead to 64-59. UM’s other redshirt senior guard, McKenzie Johnston, made a layup shortly afterward to make the score 64-61.
Goligoski scored 10 points in her last game for the Lady Griz while Johnston had a game-high 18 points.
After both teams were fouled and made four free-throws each, Northern Arizona secured a 68-65 lead with 11 seconds left in the game. Stockholm shot a corner three right before the game ended for UM, but it bounced out and Northern Arizona held on for the win.
The Lady Griz had a poor 3-point shooting percentage of 14%, while Northern Arizona made 36% of its triple attempts.
Northern Arizona will face Montana State in the Big Sky Championship semifinals on March 11.
“Montana State is a heck of a team. We’re going to have to play our best basketball,” Payne said.
The Lady Griz finished the season with a 17-13 record. UM lost its last three Big Sky tournament games and is 0-2 since the tournament moved to Boise, Idaho.
UM head coach Shannon Schweyen is now 1-4 as a head coach in the Big Sky tournament.