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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COMES UP SHORT IN 84-80 LOSS AT MONTANA STATE

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COMES UP SHORT IN 84-80 LOSS AT MONTANA STATE

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Trailing by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, Sacramento State pulled to within striking distance in the fourth but ran out of time in an 84-80 loss on Thursday in Bozeman.

Sacramento State (6-11, 2-4 Big Sky) trailed 84-75 with six seconds left before a layup, steal, and three free throws made the final margin just four points. Montana State (12-5, 5-2 Big Sky) never trailed in the game and improved to 7-0 at home this season.

The Hornets had their deficit down to just seven points with seven minutes remaining but could not get closer until the last-second barrage. Sacramento State shot a season-high 30 free throws in the game but made just 21-of-30, missing 11 total free throws with six free throw misses just in the critical fourth quarter.

Playing just her fourth game of the season, senior Gretchen Harrigan scored a season-high 19 points and had six rebounds in the loss. Junior Maranne Johnson recorded her second career double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals.

Johnson had 12 points, three rebounds, and three steals in the first quarter but the Bobcats hit five threes in the opening period and outrebounded the Hornets 14-6 to lead 27-15. The Hornets shot just 4-of-17 (23.5%) in the second quarter and trailed 49-35 at the half.

The Bobcat lead spiked at 60-42 with 5:59 left in the third quarter, but the Hornets cut their deficit to 67-55 going to the fourth and pulled within a 71-64 margin with seven minutes to play. Sacramento State held Montana State without a made field goal over the last 3:51 of the game as the home team missed eight of its last nine shots but did make 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes to earn the win.

The final score came to 84-80 as senior Margaret Huntington scored on a put-back with six seconds left and freshman Tiara Scott stole the ensuing inbounds pass, was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and made 3-of-3 free throws in the final seconds.

Huntington finished 5-of-5 from the field with 12 points and seven rebounds. Scott had 11 points and senior Brianna Burgos hit a pair of threes and had 10 points. The Hornets shot 34% overall and 31% from 3-point range while forcing 23 turnovers.

Montana State had a 53-39 rebounding edge and shot 45% overall with 13-of-15 shooting at the free throw line. Riley Nordgaard had 26 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, Hannah Caudill had 14 points and six assists, and Blaire Braxton totaled 14 rebounds for the Bobcats.

Sacramento State plays at Montana at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday. The injury-plagued Grizzlies are 3-15 overall and 0-7 in Big Sky play after a 64-44 home loss to Portland State on Thursday.