Bobcat women stumble again, 77-76 at UND - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Bobcat women stumble again, 77-76 at UND

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The University of North Dakota overcame an 11-point second half deficit to deny Montana State an outright Big Sky regular-season title with a 77-76 win over the Bobcats Friday afternoon in the final conference game of the year for both squads.

Montana State (21-8, 14-4) could still win the outright title if both Eastern Washington and Idaho lose their games to Weber State and Idaho State, respectively tonight.

Despite losing a double-digit advantage, Montana State had a chance at the buzzer for the victory, but a five-foot jumper by Jasmine Hommes rolled around the rim and fell out. MSU almost pulled off another miracle finish after trailing by six-points with thirty-seconds remaining.

“I’m proud of our comeback at the end,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “This team never gives up. However, I thought the turning point in the game was our lack of composure and discipline in the third quarter. We’re above that, and we need to be steady with our mentality.”

Leading 43-32 at the 7:38 mark of the third stanza, North Dakota (17-12, 13-5) got a layup by Leah Szabla. Following a turnover by Lindsay Stockton, UND’s Makailah Dyer converted a layup and was fouled by Delany Junkermier. Dyer’s free throw went errant and Hannah Caudill corralled the rebound for the Bobcats; however, Szabla tied the ball up. Caudill released her grip, but was called for a technical foul.

Dyer connected on two free throws to pull the Fighting Hawks to within 43-38. UND received the ball due to the technical and Lexi Klabo hit a jumper as North Dakota cut an 11-point deficit to just three points in a span of one-minute, 17-seconds.

UND rode the momentum and Samantha Roscoe’s half-court shot at the buzzer evened the score at 55-all heading into the fourth quarter.

A Peyton Ferris layup with 8:12 left gave MSU a four-point cushion. Following a Hommes layup, the Bobcats held a 61-60 advantage at the 5:59 mark. North Dakota answered with a 10-2 run to take its largest lead of the contest at 70-63 with 1:44 remaining.

Two three-pointers by Junkermier and a triple by Caudill with nine-seconds left pulled MSU to within 77-76. UND was then sent to the free throw line and missed three charity tosses and were called for a lane violation to setup Hommes’ shot at the buzzer.

“We made a lot of tough shots down the stretch to give ourselves a chance,” Binford said. “It was a tough way to finish. We had moments, especially in the first half, where we played very well. We need to get back to that.”

Ferris recorded 17 points to lead four Bobcat players in double-figures. Junkermier 16, Hommes 15, and Caudill 11 also hit double-digits. Ferris led MSU under the glass with a game-high seven rebounds, while Caudill dished out a game-high six assists.

UND was guided by Szabla with 20 points.

MSU will be either a No. 1 or 2 seed at the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting on Monday in Reno, Nevada. With a top four seed secured, Montana State will not play until Wednesday, March 9.

“Everyone hits the reset button,” Binford said. “It will be nice to get some rest and healed-up. I have no question about this team’s fight and we’ll be ready to roll come Wednesday.”

Montana State will fly directly to Reno from North Dakota on Saturday evening.

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