The women’s basketball team had two games this past week, one on Thursday, Feb. 18, on the road and a game at home on Saturday, Feb. 20. On Thursday, the team came up short with a 69-59 loss against Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho, ending the eight-game win streak the women had previously held. Montana State was down by seven points early in the game but managed to bounce back to 19-17 heading into the second quarter. However, Idaho State pulled ahead by one point in the second quarter and entered the intermission with a 32-29 advantage over the Bobcats. MSU tied the game at 32 coming out of halftime as freshman forward Katelynn Limardo sank a three-pointer. A technical foul on the Bobcat bench resulted in two free throws and a Bengal basket, which pushed ISU’s lead to nine points. The Bobcats responded with a 12-5 run and layup by Ava Ranson and lowered the gap to 46-44, yet ISU scored with only 17 seconds left, leaving the score 48-44 as the team prepared to head into the fourth quarter. Idaho State junior guard Montana Oltrogge hit a triple 30 seconds in, widening the gap once again. MSU managed to cut the margin by five points on multiple occasions, yet still came up short as the game concluded. Leading in scoring for MSU was sophomore guard Darian White with 16 points, Limardo and junior forward Gabby Mocchi with eight points each. Freshman forward Lexi Deden came off the Bobcat bench to post six points and get a team high of seven rebounds.
“Idaho State was more physical, tougher and executed much better than we did,” MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. “They picked us apart on our defensive mistakes and we lost the possession battle. Offensively, we stalled. We lacked movement and tempo as well as patience. We rushed too many shots.” MSU shot 35% from the field but connected five of 24 shots from beyond the arc. ISU shot 50% from the field and nine of 21 from beyond the perimeter. With the Saturday game tipping-off in less than 48 hours, Binford commented that the team needed to find a way to turn around their playing. “We have to find a way to respond. We need to show some resolve,” she said.
Saturday’s game proved to be a success. In the regulation, Tori Martell scored 15 points. With five seconds left in the game and the Bobcats trailing 72-69, Martell scored a deep three, sending the game into overtime. Martell scored nine points in overtime and the Bobcats captured an 88-80 victory over ISU. “I could not have asked them to execute that play any better," Binford said.
“There was still point-six seconds left and all I could think of in my head was that they could still win,” Martell said. “I just wanted to get those point-six seconds over so we could go to overtime. But all my teammates were very excited and that's a fun atmosphere to play in."
The Idaho-Montana State game scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25 will not be played. New dates for the series are being considered but have not been finalized at the time of publication.