The Arizona Wildcats opened up the game against the Montana Lady Griz with a 14-0 run and never looked back. The Wildcats, who are ranked at #22 in the AP Top 25 Poll, were able win 77-42 over UM.
“Overall, they are bigger, they are stronger and they are quicker than us, and we’ve gotta find ways to compete when we’re given edges to people like that,” said Lady Griz head coach Shannon Schweyen after the game.
Gabi Harrington was able to stop Arizona’s run when she made a layup and drew a foul from an Arizona defender. Harrington finished the game with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals. Arizonas’s lead held strong at the end of the first quarter, 23-6.
Montana was able to narrow Arizona’s lead to only 26-14 in the second quarter by forcing multiple turnovers. But Arizona’s Aari McDonald was able to keep the Wildcats ahead at halftime 38-18, with 15 points in the first half.
McDonald scored 19 points for Arizona in total and added seven rebounds. McDonald scored an average of 29.5 points in her previous two games, including a 44-point scoring outburst against Texas.
Arizona went on a 12-2 run early in the third quarter to bring the score up to 50-20 and enable the team to put in some of its bench players. Forward Abby Anderson scored Montana’s 4 points in the second half despite not scoring at all in the first half. Anderson finished with 8 points in the game.
“We talked to her about looking to score [at halftime,” said Schweyen, “and I thought she responded well to that.”
The third quarter ended with a 58-27 Arizona lead. Montana played better in the fourth quarter by only allowing Arizona to score 4 more points than itself in the quarter. Guard Gabi Harrington made Montana’s first 3-pointer of the game early in the fourth quarter to reduce Arizona’s lead to 60-30.
Guard Taylor Goligoski caught fire from behind the 3-point line after Harrington’s 3 and made two more trifectas for the Griz. Goligoski and Harrington both finished with 10 points for the Lady Griz.
The score at the final buzzer was 77-42. Arizona moved to a perfect 6-0 with the win while Montana dropped to 2-2. Arizona made 51% of its field goals while Montana was only able to convert on 24.5% of its shots. Arizona led the entire game, but the Lady Griz were able to force 13 turnovers.
“That was one thing I was extremely proud of,” said Schweyen on her team's ability to force turnovers. “I thought we did a great job reading things and anticipated what they were doing.”
The Lady Griz will take on Santa Clara University in California on Nov. 29 for its next game. The team’s next home game will be against Montana State University-Billings on Dec. 20.