From staff reports
MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho fell behind by a big margin early, then made things interesting late, but the Vandals’ rally lost steam in the closing minutes of a Big Sky women’s basketball matchup against Montana State.
The Bobcats preserved a lead throughout the game and dealt Idaho a 51-46 loss Saturday afternoon at the ICCU Arena.
Idaho (10-11, 3-6 Big Sky) trailed 18-2 midway through the first quarter. The Vandals made just six field goals in the first half and went into halftime facing a 30-17 deficit.
The Bobcats (13-10, 7-3) extended their lead to 15 points with a minute remaining in the third quarter, but Vandals guard Asha Phillips sparked a comeback to open the fourth. The sophomore from Australia went on a personal 9-0 run over the first 4 minutes of the quarter, trimming the Bobcats’ advantage to one point.
But Idaho committed turnovers on each of its next three possessions, allowing Montana State to separate for the win.
Phillips led Idaho with a game-high 18 points and added nine rebounds. She shot 6 of 10 from the field. Idaho guard Kennedy Johnson contributed 11 points and seven rebounds, but the Vandals had one of their least-efficient offensive performances of the season , shooting 36.2% from the field and committing a season-high 22 turnovers. Idaho recorded its second-lowest scoring total of the season.
The Vandals’ defense had a commendable effort to keep the game in reach. Montana State shot 37.7% from the floor, 3 of 12 from 3-point range and gave up 17 turnovers.
Guard Madison Hall (15 points) was the only Montana State player to score in double figures.