Montana State claims first BigSky Tournament Title since 1993 - Mar 13, 2017
The only time the Montana State women's basketball team played in the NCAA Tournament, league and tournament MVP Peyton Ferris (5'9''-G-93) wasn't even a gleam in her parents' eyes. The Bobcats erased 24 years of frustration Saturday with a 62-56 win over Idaho State in the championship game of the Big Sky Conference women's basketball tournament at the Reno Events Center. MSU pulled off the double, winning a share of the regular-season title and taking home the postseason trophy. The Bobcats (25-6), who set a school record for wins in a season, will find out Monday who and where they will play in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Idaho State (19-14) made a valiant run as the sixth-seeded team, but came up just short. Ferris, a senior from tiny Twin Bridges, Montana, led the Bobcats with 23 points and seven rebounds. 'This is my first career tournament win in my life, high school and college,' Ferris said. 'It feels good. I couldn't be more excited to complete this final goal. People are saying you're from where you're from and it will be really hard to do. Now I can sit there with a smile on my face and say that I accomplished all the goals I had in third grade.' Tough-as-nails senior Riley Nordgaard (5'10''-F-93) added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Montana State had appeared in the title game eight times, winning just once, that coming in 1993. Ironically, Montana State coach Tricia Binford played a part in that title as well … sort of. Binford was a guard for Boise State that season and lost to Montana in the semifinals of the league tournament in Bozeman. The Bobcats then beat the Lady Griz for their first NCAA berth. 'I was about their age,' Binford said of where she was in 1993. 'That's the year I was born,' Nordgaard chimed in. 'Thank you, Riley, I appreciate that,' Binford said with a roll of her eyes. 'I'm feeling my age right now, too, thank you.' Binford no doubt aged a bit in the first quarter when the Bengals jumped out to a 12-2 lead. MSU made just 1 of its first 10 shots from the floor. But Ferris hit a couple of buckets in a 10-4 burst to end the quarter and get the Cats within 16-12 at the first break. The Bobcats took their first lead at 17-16 on one of Nordgaard's four treys. A 3-pointer by Ferris put the Cats on top 32-28 at halftime. The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair until back-to-back baskets by Annika Lai (6'1''-F) gave the Cats a 46-42 lead. A 6-0 burst gave the Bobcats a 52-44 lead with 3:47 to play in the fourth quarter. Ferris started it with a nice up-and-under move, Rebekah Hatchard added a reverse layup and Ferris buried a 15-foot jumper. From there, the Cats were able to hold off the Bengals from the free-throw line. Grace Kenyon led Idaho State with 26 points and 10 boards. 'We're obviously very proud of our team,' said Idaho State coach Seton Sobolewski , whose team fell in the title game for the second straight season. 'We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores that stepped up and took us all the way to the championship game. They've showed how much you can accomplish with hard work and having the right attitude.' Selected to the all-tournament team were Ashley Bolston (6'2''-G) of Portland State, Delaney Hodgins (6'0''-F) of Eastern Washington, Bianca Thacker (5'11''-G) and Kenyon of Idaho State, and Nordgaard and Ferris of Montana State.
Big Sky Conf. Tournament Final: Montana State - Idaho State 62-56 Big Sky Conf. Tournament Semifinals: Montana State - Eastern Washington 61-59 Idaho State - Portland State 54-50
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