(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN — Montana State’s Gabby Mocchi sank a three-pointer six and a half minutes into the first quarter to give the Bobcats a one-point lead. No. 19 Brigham Young responded with eight straight points, taking a lead he wouldn’t give up en route to an 89-67 win over MSU on Tuesday night at Worthington Arena.
BYU (10-1) held on to a six-point cushion after the first quarter, but Montana State (7-6) cut the lead to 22-21 early in the second period on a Kola Bad Bear triple. Once again, the Cougars flexed their muscles with a 12-1 run and never looked back.
BYU held a 46-32 advantage at intermission.
“I think we had a really good first quarter,” said Ellen Kreighbaum, women’s basketball head coach Tricia Binford. “We have to build on that before conference play after the break.
“The one thing we need to get better at is owning property,” Binford said. “Tonight BYU definitely won that battle. We blocked the ball on a lot of possessions and we have to be very precise in that area.
In the second half, the Cougars outscored the Bobcats 43-35, but MSU won the fourth 20-19.
“Obviously it wore us out,” Binford said. “It was similar to South Dakota State. We just couldn’t make a complete game. We need to improve our concentration and execute on both sides of the pitch. We didn’t force enough errors and turnovers on our opponent.
“They moved the ball exceptionally well,” added Binford. “There’s a reason they’re ranked No. 19. But on the other hand, we need to improve our sense of urgency. I felt we were a second behind all night.
Darian White led MSU with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Also in double digits, Taylor Janssen with a season-high 11 points and Bad Bear with ten.
For the play, Montana State shot 36.5 percent from the field and connected on 7 of 23 from beyond the arc.
BYU was beaten by Shaylee Gonzales with 21 points, while Lauren Gustin added 15 points and 18 rebounds. In all, the Cougars scored 35 baskets including 23 assists. BYU finished filming 48.6% from the field.
“Our non-conference schedule was very tough,” Binford said. “I think we’ve taken a few steps in the right direction over the past two weeks.”
The loss to BYU ended MSU’s six-game winning streak. The Bobcats return to Big Sky Conference play on Dec. 30 against Weber State in Ogden, Utah.