Bobcat women open WNIT tonight at Utah - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Bobcat women open WNIT tonight at Utah

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The Montana State women’s basketball team will face Pac-12 foe Utah in the first-round of the WNIT, Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

It marks MSU’s first national postseason tournament appearance since playing at Colorado State on March 21, 2003. 

Montana State (21-9) is coming off a 52-50 loss to Idaho State in the second-round of the Big Sky Conference tournament. It was decided when ISU’s Juliet Jones’ 27-foot heave hit nothing but net at the buzzer. MSU shot just 14 percent from in the second-half and connected on 14-of-28 from the line in the final two quarters.

“We’re excited to be playing again and to be part of the WNIT,” said 11th-year Montana State head coach Tricia Binford. “Utah is an outstanding program that’s had a great tradition of success. Anytime you play a Pac-12 team it’s a monumental challenge.

“Our kids are hungry to get back on the floor,” Binford continued. “They’ve put last week behind them and are ready to give everything they have on Friday night.”

Utah finished 16-14 overall and 8-10 in Pac-12 play. The Utes ended seventh in the league standings, after being picked to finish 11th in the preseason coaches poll. Utah is under the direction of first-year head coach Lynne Roberts. Roberts, who previously coached at Pacific, led the Tigers to the WNIT third-round in 2013 and the second-round in 2012.

The Utes have been paced this season by Emily Potter and Paige Crozon, who average 15.1 and 12. 8 points per game, respectively. Potter, a 6-5 sophomore from Winnipeg, Manitoba, also averages a team-best 9.9 rebounds, while recording 75 blocked shots. Crozon, a 6-1 junior from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, is second on the squad with 46 3-pointers, while leading the Utes with 29 steals.

MSU is 0-8 all-time against the Utes. The last time the two teams met was Dec. 18, 2006 with the Utah prevailing 66-63 in Salt Lake City.

Current Bobcat assistant Kati Burrows, as a sophomore, played in MSU’s last WNIT contest scoring 10 points and hauling down four rebounds as the Rams handed the Bobcats an 87-74 setback in Fort Collins.

Friday’s winner will play the winner of Thursday’s game between Gonzaga and UC Riverside.

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