After the Thanksgiving festivities, the MSU women’s basketball team went to Cal Poly last weekend to participate in the ShareSLO Holiday Tournament. The Cats played the Evansville Purple Aces, first of a two game series on Friday, Nov. 27 .
The Cats opened the holiday tournament with a confident win over the Purple Aces. Junior guard Peyton Ferris led the team with a game-high 18 points, hauling in ten rebounds as well, giving her a second straight double-double to help the Cats cruise by the Aces 81-55.
In the first quarter of the game, the Cats enforced strict defense, holding the Purple Aces to no field goals for the entire first quarter. The Cats went into the second stanza posting a 19-4 lead, the Ace’s only points coming from four free throw attempts being made.
Senior forward Jasmine Holmes completed a jumper in the paint to start the second quarter and extend the Cats lead 21-4. The Bobcats would continue to dominate defensively, allowing only 12 more points from the Aces. MSU went into the half 42-16, hosting their biggest lead in the last minute, posting 42 points to the Aces 13.
The Cats continued to control the game in the third quarter, herding the Aces defensively and maintaining their dominance on the boards out-rebounding Evansville 54-31. The Cats finished out the game holding onto their strong lead, shooting 51 percent from the field and out shooting the Aces in the paint 50-20.
MSU ended with a season-high 27 assists and sophomore Hannah Caudill led the team by a career-high 11 assists. Also in double-figures for the Bobcats were Hommes and junior forward Riley Nordgaard with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The following Sunday the Bobcats faced a 3-2 Cal Poly next in the series. The Bobcats came out of the gates in strong form, but lacked the stamina down the half stretch to out-run the determined Mustangs.
Montana State held a 28-20 advantage going at halftime, but couldn’t stop the Mustangs from snatching the lead in the middle of the third quarter. The Cats would never again take the lead again, Cal Poly’s second half surge keeping the Cats to 5 point average deficit. The first half saw the Cats barely ou- shoot the Mustangs, 27 percent to 23.7 percent respectively.
The fourth quarter saw Cal Poly control its lead for the remainder of the game, the Cats coming within three on the seventh minute with a 3-point conversion by sophomore Guard Delany Junkermier. Unfortunately the Cats couldn’t capitalize on the momentum swing and never came any closer to gaining the lead. Cal Poly closed the game 66-57, giving the Cats their second loss of the season.
After Sunday night’s loss, MSU Head Coach Tricia Binford said, “As a coaching staff we are focusing on some second-half adjustments we can make to help our players maintain the legs in the second half to be able to get the same stops we are getting in the first as this was a back to back night with a pretty challenging travel schedule getting to San Luis Obispo. We are also working on some huddle cue phrases that can refocus our group in late situations.”
MSU tied a school record connecting on 14-of-14 from the free throw line. The Mustangs were lead by Beth Balbierz and Lisa Marie Sanchez with 16 and 15 points, respectively. The Cats’ loss to Cal Poly closed out their ShareSlo Holiday Classic try 1-1.
Montana State will host Cal State Fullerton, Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.