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Cats comeback falls short as Lady Griz win - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Cats comeback falls short as Lady Griz win

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MISSOULA -

Montana State battled through adversity of all varieties, but in the end a key three was too much to overcome.

Suffering through its worst shooting day of the conference season, making just one three-point field goal, Montana State grabbed its only lead of the second half on a pair of Peyton Ferris free throws with 25 seconds to play. But Haley Vining’s three-pointer with 14 seconds to play restored Montana’s lead, and the Grizzlies held on to hand MSU a 70-66 loss.

The game-winner, capped by a pair of late free throws after an out-of-bounds call originally awarded to MSU was over-ruled by replay controversially, was one of two shots made on the afternoon by Vining. Valley finished with a game-high 23 for Montana.

That Montana State entered the closing moments with a chance to win the game seemed unlikely for most of the afternoon. The Grizzlies used a second quarter spurt to grab the lead, built it to double-digits at the end of the first half, then maintained a comfortable double-digit margin until the fourth quarter.

Ferris led the charge for the Cats. After Montana opened the fourth quarter with an Alycia Sims jumper to lead 51-40, Ferris hit three jumpers and two free throws to pull MSU within 51-48 at 6:49. The game became a free throw contest for several possessions, and when Sims hit one at 2:31 UM led 61-55.

Riley Nordgaard hit MSU’s only three-pointer of the afternoon – the Cats finished 1-for-11 from the arc – to slice the lead in half at 61-58. A minute-and-a-half later Ferris hit a jumper to pull the Cats within one, then her free throws gave MSU its short-lived lead.

While Montana State’s offense cooled as the first half went on, UM’s heated considerable. After missing nine of their first 11 shots, the Lady Griz hit 12 of their final 22.

The Bobcats maintained their lead through the game’s first 12 minutes, but a jumper by Kayleigh Valley tied the score at 14 and came in the middle of what would be an 11-0 run. MSU’s inside tandem of Lexi Dawkins (3-for-5, six points) and Jasmine Hommes (4-for-7, 10 points) were nearly unstoppable in the first half, but the rest of the Bobcats combined for 1-for-14 shooting and all 10 turnovers. Valley and Alycia Sims each scored eight in the first two quarters for UM.

Even with the loss, Montana State wakes up Sunday in first place in the Big Sky. The Cats are 19-6 overall, 12-2 in league play. Montana is 16-9, 9-5.

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