The Bobcat Women’s Basketball Team hung their first Conference Championship banner in Worthington Arena since 2003 on Dec. 2, and anyone who watched them play could clearly see why. The reigning 2016 Big Sky Conference champions opened up their first home games of the season with a pair of commanding victories over Carroll College on Dec. 2, and Seattle University on Dec. 4.
The Bobcats dominated the first quarter against the Carroll College Saints. They put up 26 points to Carroll’s 14, shooting a staggering 77 percent from the field to set the tempo for the rest of the game. MSU continued to widen the gap through the second quarter as their lockdown defense helped them expand their lead to 38-20 going into halftime.
Carroll was not able to cut the lead any smaller than 12 points for the rest of the game. The Bobcats rolled to victory with a 16-3 run to close out the contest in a final score of 75-44.
Four Bobcats scored double figures. Senior Peyton Ferris led the way with 15 points, connecting on seven of 10 from the floor. Next to her were freshman Oliana Squires with 12, junior Hannah Caudill with 11 and senior Riley Nordgaard with 10. Freshman Blaire Braxton took control of the boards with a game high 10 rebounds.
MSU was just as impressive at the other end of the court, as their defense held the Saints to just 25 percent shooting from the field and limited them to just six points on nine percent shooting in the post.
Head Coach Tricia Binford attributed the team’s success this weekend to the selfless nature of the players and the team’s defensive prowess. “The team is playing for each other; selfless basketball. They love to make the extra pass and defensively this team has a toughness that makes it difficult to get clean looks,” Binford said.
Against Seattle University two days later, the Bobcats opened to a quick start once again. They began the game with a 14-0 run, and did not slow down from there as they pushed their lead to 45-18 by halftime. Ferris set the pace in scoring again, putting up 17 of her 24 points in the first half while shooting 70 percent. As a team, the Cats shot 53 percent in the first 20 minutes.
MSU led by as much as 30 points while coasting their way to another win. Their lead was diminished to a 17 point margin by the fourth quarter due to a barrage of turnovers on the Cats’ end, but it wasn’t nearly enough to surmount the lead they established in the first half.
Selfless play was the name of the game as the Bobcats recorded 21 assists as a team. Caudill dropped a few dimes to get a game high seven assists while also adding seven points of her own. Nordgaard put up 13 points, and freshman Madeline Smith scored 10 points on 83 percent shooting.
The Bobcats were excellent on the boards, out-rebounding Seattle 47-28. Braxton again snatched a team-high nine rebounds.
The women’s basketball team will play again Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. against the University of Portland in Portland.