Women’s basketball looking for tournament berth

The Bobcat women won back to back home games at Worthington Arena in their last batch of conference games before the Brawl of the Wild. On Thursday, Feb. 26, the Bobcats defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles and on Saturday, Feb. 28, the Bobcats took care of the University of Idaho Vandals.

The Bobcats came out hot against the Eagles on Thursday night, scoring in the first minute of play. The Cats handled the Eagles’ defensive pressure well, and at one point led by as many as 16 points in the first half. At halftime the Bobcats led by nine points, 32-23. MSU added to their lead in the second half by starting out the half with an 8-0 run. The Cats were up by as much as 18 in the second half before the Eagles started hitting shots from behind the arc. In the last few minutes of play the Eagles were able to come within four points off sharp shooting from Hayley Hodgins. However, consistent free throw shooting and a timely 3-pointer from senior forward Jackie Elliott sealed the deal for the Bobcats as they upset the fourth-ranked Eagles 63-53.

“We knew that was going to happen, they’ve got some great shooters,” junior guard Lindsay Stockton said. “We stayed composed and kept fighting back and made some stops.” The Bobcats were led by sophomore guard Peyton Ferris with 16 points, while Stockton led the team in assists with nine. The Bobcats finished with 17 total assists, while only committing 13 turnovers. “We had a positive assist to turnover ratio,” Head Coach Trish Binford said, “That was my favorite stat today.” The Eagles were led in scoring by Hodgins with 22 points.

The Bobcats hosted the University of Idaho on Saturday in hopes to complete a season sweep of the Vandals. Idaho wouldn’t go down without a fight however, as the two teams traded leads several times before Idaho grabbed a two point lead at halftime. The Bobcats started the second half strong, connecting on their first four shots from the field and regaining the lead at the 13:53 mark. The Cats hung on to the lead for the rest of the night, and went on to win by a score of 71-62.

“We came out in the second half with a lot more energy,” Binford said. “Our seniors really stepped it up and made plays on both ends of the floor.” Senior guard Kalli Durham led the Bobcats in scoring with 20 points and five assists. “Kalli [Durham] really exploded offensively, Ausha [Cole] showed the fans one of the best defensive performances by a MSU women’s basketball player, and Jackie [Elliott] led the team with her endless effort plays,” Binford said.

This win moves the Bobcats one step closer to a Big Sky Tournament appearance. The Vandals were led by Stacey Barr with 23 points. “We are currently in eighth place with one game left hosting the Griz on Saturday,” Binford said. The Bobcats tip off against the Montana Grizzlies March 7 at 2 p.m.