(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 opening quarter to give the Bobcats a one-point lead. No. 19 Brigham Young answered with eight consecutive points, taking a lead it wouldn’t relinquish en route to an 89-67 victory over MSU on Tuesday night in Worthington Arena.
BYU (10-1) held a six-point cushion after the opening frame, but Montana State (7-6) cut the margin to 22-21 early in the second period on a Kola Bad Bear triple. Again, the Cougars flexed its muscle with a 12-1 run and never looked back.
BYU held a 46-32 advantage at intermission.
“I thought we had a real strong first quarter,” said Ellen Kreighbaum Women’s Head Basketball Coach Tricia Binford. “We need to build off that heading into conference play after the break.
“The one thing we need to get better at is owning possessions,” Binford stated. “Tonight, BYU definitely won that battle. We got the ball stalled a lot of possessions and we need to get super sharp in that area.”
In the second half, the Cougars outscored the Bobcats 43-35, but MSU won the fourth 20-19.
“Obviously, the wore us down,” Binford said. “It was similar to South Dakota State. We just couldn’t put a full game together. We need to improve our focus and to execute on both ends of the floor. We didn’t force enough mistakes and turnovers from our opponent.
“They moved the ball exceptionally well,” Binford added. “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 on a one-second delay all night.”
Darian White led MSU with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Also in double digits were Taylor Janssen with a season-high 11 points and Bad Bear with ten.
For the game, Montana State shot 36.5% from the field and connected on 7 of 23 from beyond the arc.
BYU was paced by Shaylee Gonzales with 21 points, while Lauren Gustin added 15 points and 18 rebounds. In all, the Cougars posted 35 field-goals with 23 coming from assists. BYU finished shooting 48.6% from the field.
“Our nonconference schedule was very challenging,” Binford said. “I think we’ve taken some steps in the right direction over the past couple of weeks.”
The loss to BYU snapped MSU’s six-game winning streak. The Bobcats will resume Big Sky Conference play on Dec. 30 against Weber State in Ogden, Utah.