Late heroics give Cats win over Bengals - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Late heroics give Cats win over Bengals

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It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. And, with the victory the Montana State women’s basketball team remained atop the Big Sky Conference standings with one week remaining.

On Senior Night, it was a sophomore that delivered the biggest gift. Delany Junkermier’s back-to-back three-pointers with under 13-seconds left in regulation - the later from 22-feet and with one-second on the clock – tied the score at 66-all. The Bobcats carried the momentum into overtime, eventually escaping with an 82-80 win over Idaho State.

“I can’t explain it,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “It just shows the character of our kids. We were out of sorts for most on the night. I think we might’ve been dealing with the emotions of Senior Night, but hey, when we needed her, Delany lights it up, and we find a new way to win.”

Montana State (21-6, 14-2) stammered out of the gates connecting on just one-of-13 shots in the opening quarter. However, Idaho State (13-14, 6-10) racked up ten fouls and the Bobcats converted 15-of-16 free throws to own a five-point lead heading into the second quarter.

MSU’s shooting woes continued in the second period and ISU’s Anna Policicchio went to town inside to give the Bengals a 30-26 advantage at intermission. Policicchio finished the opening half with sixteen points.

Idaho State opened the second half on an 8-4 run to take its largest lead of the game at 38-30 at the 6:59 mark. MSU whittled away at the deficit and a layup by Peyton Ferris tied the game at 41-all with 2:27 left in the quarter.

In the final quarter, neither team held more than a three-point advantage with the score changing hands eight times and even on five occasions.

ISU finally took the largest lead of the quarter with 29-seconds left on a Policicchio basket. With 19-seconds remaining, Apiphany Woods converted one of two free throws and the Bengals pushed its lead to five points.

Montana State sophomore Hannah Caudill converted two free throws with 17-seconds left and MSU put ISU at the line, again. This time, Isabel Vara de Rey went one-of-two with 15-seconds remaining to give ISU a 64-60 lead.

Following a Bobcat timeout, MSU advanced the ball to mid-court and Ferris quickly found Junkermier who nailed her first triple of the night to get Montana State to within one point with 13-seconds left.

With seven-seconds left, Lindsay Stockton fouled ISU’s Freya Newton and the junior sank both charity tosses. Again, the Bobcats called timeout and advanced the ball. With one tick on the clock, Caudill found Junkermier for a three-pointer to send the game into overtime.

“We had a new found confidence, and with our crowd backing us, we just carried the momentum,” Binford said.

In the extra period, a pair of Ferris free throws gave MSU a 70-68 lead at the 3:35 mark, and the Bobcats never trailed the rest of the way.

In the final three-minutes, Stockton, playing in her 115th game as a Bobcat, went to work connecting on seven-of-ten free throws, while coming up with two big steals and two rebounds. In all, the Bobcats converted 14-of-21 free throws in overtime to secure the win.

Ferris paced MSU with 22 points, while Stockton 14, Jasmine Hommes 11, Junkermier 11 and Riley Nordgaard 10, also posted double-digits. The Bobcats finished the game shooting 32 percent from the field.

The Bobcats made 41-of-54 free throws to set a new school record from the line. The old mark of 34 made free throws was set at Eastern Washington on Feb. 6, 2003.

Policicchio recorded a career-high 27 points to pace the Bengals.

Montana State will close out regular-season play at Northern Colorado and North Dakota next weekend. 

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