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Firing on all cylinders
Julie Deming of Montana puts up a shot over Kelly Koerber of Western Michigan on Friday at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. The Lady Griz won 67-51.
Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Lady Griz use balanced attack in win over Broncos

By RIAL CUMMINGS of the Missoulian

Three basketball games in five days, with the final two on the road, may sound like a grind. But Brooklynn Lorenzen isn't buying it.

Montana's senior point guard had a big grin on her face Friday night, and not just because she helped guide the Lady Griz past non-conference foe Western Michigan 67-51 in front of 3,254 at Dahlberg Arena.

"I like it, I'm excited," Lorenzen said, looking ahead to games at Gonzaga on Sunday and Colorado State on Tuesday. "Who wants to go to practice for four days? I'd rather play a game every night if I could. It's so much more fun."

"I don't like playing against my teammates," Lorenzen added. "I've been playing against them for four months now. Give me somebody new."

Forwards Julie Deming and Jody McLeod led the Lady Griz (10-2) with 15 points apiece. Guard Katie Edwards had 14 and center Hollie Tyler added 13 in one of UM's best balanced offensive efforts of the season.

"The way we were swinging the ball around, it was hard to defend everyone," said Lorenzen, who had six assists, five points and nary a turnover while playing a team-high 32 minutes.

The Lady Griz expected a battle from the defending Mid-American Conference champions, who defeated UM 76-64 last season in Kalamazoo, Mich. But while WMU (5-6) hurt Montana on the offensive boards, it didn't come anywhere near its 75.1 scoring average. The Broncos shot just 28.8 percent from the field against UM's matchup zone, a poorer percentage than they managed in losses to No. 1 Connecticut, No. 6 Purdue and No. 14 North Carolina.

Tyler, a 6-foot-3 junior, blocked four shots in the first half to keep WMU skittish around the basket, and finished with a game-high 13 rebounds.

"I feel great about this win," said Coach Robin Selvig after UM claimed its 12th straight home victory, extending back to January of 2003. "I thought most of their shots were contested, and we worked hard to keep them off the foul line. They never really got it going offensively."

The game was all about bursts. The Lady Griz scored 11 straight points to grab an early 11-2 lead. Then, after WMU responded with a 17-3 rally to take the lead, Montana took control by outscoring the Broncos 16-2 in a six-minute span bridging intermission.

Deming's 3-pointer and two baskets by Edwards, the second one an 18-footer from the baseline with three seconds remaining, put UM on top 36-27 at halftime. Deming had 12 points in the first half when the Lady Griz, effectively hitting cutters through WMU's zone defense, shot 56 percent.

"Their zone was shifting to the baseline," Deming said. "I told Katie (Edwards), fake it (the pass) and shoot it. We both hit three's because they were so worried about the baseline cutters."

Lorenzen opened the second half by burying an open trey - the only field goal she attempted all night - and Tyler hit a turnaround bank shot to extend the lead to 41-29. WMU never got closer than double digits the rest of the way.

"They left Brooklynn open and she hit a big three," Selvig said. "That made it tougher for them."

"We knew we had to come out in the second half and jump on them early," Deming said. "It made the game so much better for us. We didn't have to worry about every single possession. If we missed a couple shots, or if they got some extra offensive rebounds - and they kicked our butts on the boards - it wasn't the end of the world."

Although WMU had only one more rebound overall, the Broncos grabbed 20 offensive caroms. Luckily for UM, they didn't convert many into second-chance points. And when the Broncos sent players to the offensive glass, it opened opportunities for the Lady Griz to score in transition.

"We were able to get the ball out and get some fastbreak baskets," Deming said. "But there's no excuse for not rebounding better."

Junior guard Casey Rost, with 21 points, was the only Bronco in double figures, and she shot just 6-of-15 from the field.

NOTES: Tyler's 13 points left her one short of the 1,000-point milestone for her career. She had a double-double in points and rebounds for the fourth straight game. … Lorenzen now has 83 assists and just 24 turnovers in 11 games this season. … Although UM cooled off in the second half, it finished with a 45.3 percent shooting mark from the field, its third-best performance this year. McLeod shot 7-of-9 en route to matching her season high. … The Lady Griz tip off against Gonzaga Sunday at 2 p.m., MST, at the "The Kennel" in Spokane.

WESTERN MICHIGAN (51)

Mins FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts

f-Koerber 26 3-9 1-2 3 1 2 7

f-Crisman 27 3-7 2-2 4 4 2 8

c-Jillian 37 3-10 0-0 4 2 3 8

g-Rost 40 6-15 6-6 7 4 3 21

g-Moore 30 1-9 2-2 10 2 3 4

Verseput 18 0-4 0-0 7 2 1 0

Jackson 5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Tyson 5 0-2 0-0 0 1 0 0

Driggett 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Owens 10 1-3 1-4 3 2 0 3

Totals 200 17-59 12-16 38 18 14 51

MONTANA (67)

Mins FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts

f-McLeod 26 7-9 1-1 6 3 2 15

f-Deming 28 5-10 2-4 3 1 3 15

c-Tyler 30 4-11 5-6 13 2 1 13

g-Edwards 28 6-11 0-0 3 0 4 14

g-Lorenzen 32 1-1 2-2 0 1 6 5

Monaco 12 0-0 2-4 1 1 0 2

DeShazer 8 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 0

Keller 12 1-3 0-0 2 2 1 2

Brooks 14 0-2 0-1 5 1 1 0

Baird 10 0-4 1-2 1 5 0 1

Totals 200 24-53 13-20 37 16 19 67

Halftime score: Montana 36, Western Michigan 27.

3-point goals: WM 5-18 (Rost 3-9, Jillian 2-5, Moore 0-2, Versseput 0-2), UM 6-14 (Deming 3-5, Edwards 2-6, Lorenzen 1-1, DeShazer 0-1, Keller 0-1).

Turnovers: WM 15 (Moore 4). UM 15 (Deming 3).

Blocked shots: WM 1 (Verseput), UM 5 (Tyler 4).

Steals: WM 7 (Jillian 3), UM 6 (Deming 2, Tyler 2).

Officials: Laura Sundheim, Lucy Banuelos, Kody Ketterling.

Attendance: 3,254.

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