Pitted against a physical, well-disciplined defensive foe, the Montana women's basketball team struggled mightily to score Thursday night.
The Lady Griz shot a frosty 25.9 percent from the field in a 50-34 loss to Idaho State at Reed Gym in Pocatello, Idaho. The Bengals did a masterful job doubling down on Montana scoring leader Jace Henderson in the paint, limiting her to six points after she tallied 31 in Saturday's win over Idaho.
"I don't think we adjusted well to that," Montana coach Shannon Schweyen told KMPT radio. "We needed to knock down the perimeter shot and we had kids hesitating to do that.
"They packed it in. It was just a struggle finding anybody that could come in and give us a little lift."
Montana's point total was its lowest since 2010 when it dropped a 52-34 decision at UC Riverside. The Lady Griz (9-8 overall, 4-4 Big Sky Conference) hit just 14 of 54 shots and compounded their offensive woes by turning the ball over 21 times against the Bengals' stingy man defense.
"Doubling in there a few times we had some (turnovers) in there," Schweyen said of Idaho State's frontcourt defense. "And we had the ball ripped out of our hands a bunch.
"It's a physical (Bengals) team and it always seems like it takes us a while to figure that out ... I was throwing everybody in there trying to get a little something. It was not our night."
The first quarter set the tone. The Lady Griz succeeded in working the ball for open looks but hit just 3 of 17 shots.
Idaho State (11-6, 6-2) didn't shoot well either but still managed to take a 21-18 lead into halftime.
"It was not a pretty basketball game," Schweyen said. "Even on their end they couldn't hit the broad side of the barn and we should have been up ... We kept saying crash the boards and you might get an easy one. But it was an ugly, ugly basketball game."
Idaho State stretched its lead to 33-26 by the end of the third quarter. Then the Lady Griz hit just 3 of 14 shots in the fourth quarter.
Arizona Wildcats transfer Sammy Fatkin delivered a solid performance in defeat for Montana. The sophomore guard hit a pair of triples and shot 4 for 7 overall in scoring 10 points.
"She did some nice things," Schweyen said. "She was our only kid in double digits and shot the three decently."
The loss was Montana's fourth in a row at Reed Gym. The Lady Griz will try to regroup at Weber State on Saturday afternoon.
"On to the next one," Schweyen said. "It was just a bad night for us."
Three players scored in double figures for the Bengals. Grace Kenyon, Saylair Grandon and freshman Callie Bourne all had 11 points. Kenyon and Grandon also had 10 rebounds apiece.