The Montana Lady Griz ran out of gas Saturday night in Ogden, Utah.
But just before the tank hit "E," the Lady Griz eked out a 63-60 women's basketball victory over the Weber State Wildcats, capping a very successful Big Sky Conference opening road swing in front of 1,062 at the Dee Events Center.
Montana led almost the entire game, but didn't make a field goal for the last 7:55. Junior center Hollie Tyler sank a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left to give the Griz a 61-60 lead, roughly 40 seconds after Weber State took a one-point lead on an Angela Sampson layup. Tyler finished with 17 points, nine boards, four blocked shots and tied a career-high with five steals.
Montana senior point guard Brooklynn Lorenzen, who scored 17 points, iced the game with a pair of free throws with four seconds left.
Lorenzen, who drilled five 3-pointers and dished out nine assists, finished Montana's road trip - which included a 77-66 victory over Idaho State on Thursday - with 25 points, 19 assists and just four turnovers. She played all 40 minutes in both games. So did Katie Edwards.
"I just told them this was as good of a road trip as I can remember,'' Montana coach Robin Selvig said in a postgame interview on KLYC radio. "We beat two good teams in league. I'm awfully proud of them."
Montana, winners of three straight, moved to 2-0 in league and 12-4 overall. Weber, which saw its five-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 1-1, 7-8. Montana ended a three-game losing streak to Carla Taylor's Wildcats.
"It's a nice start, but it doesn't mean diddly,'' Selvig added. "We've got 12 more games. It just means we're off to a good start.''
Montana plays just once next week, but it's a biggy. The Lady Griz travel to archrival Montana State next Friday at 7:05 p.m. Montana State is 0-2 in league, after falling to Idaho State 82-69 on Saturday afternoon.
Weber State's Julie Gjertsen, the co-Big Sky Conference MVP last season, scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Becky O'Neil, a 6-foot freshman from Kalispell, netted 15 points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Sheila Robertson, who came in averaging 9.1 points per game, failed to score. She was 0-of-9, from the field, missing all seven of her 3-point tries against Montana's 2-3 zone defense. As a team, Weber made just 2-of-15 from beyond the arc.
"We stayed in zone almost the whole game and I think that was what we wanted to be in,'' Selvig said. "They hurt us low sometimes. O'Neil had 15 and did a nice job for them.''
Montana picked up right where it left off against Idaho State when the Lady Griz shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half. The Lady Griz hit 7-of-8 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to open up a 25-17 lead. Lorenzen, who scored a career-high 27 points in 2002 against Weber and hit a career-high five 3-pointers in a 23-point effort at Weber last season, drained three quick 3-pointers in the barrage.
The 6-foot-3 Tyler, who finished 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, had two treys, while fellow 6-3 junior Crystal Baird joined the party, along with senior guard Julie Deming. Deming finished with 12 points. Montana ended with a season-high 11 3-pointers.
"We were throwing it in all over,'' Selvig said. "It was kind of fun. This is a great defensive team we were playing and they were down there trying to take care of Hollie and Crystal.''
The Lady Griz led 38-24 with 2:37 to play in the first half when Deming drilled a 16-footer.
Weber whittled Montana's lead down to 47-42 with 11:57 to play in the second half when Laura Porter scored on a put-back. Baird was called for her fourth foul. Seconds later, she fouled out after just nine minutes of action.
Lorenzen and Deming sandwiched 3-pointers around a Tyler basket as Montana extended its lead to 55-44 with 9:59 to play.
Then, Montana went cold and Weber State went on a run, finally closing within 57-56 on a jumper by O'Neil with 3:32 to play.
Julianne Keller calmly sank a pair of free throws to extend Montana's lead to 59-56 with 2:46 remaining. The free throws were Montana's first two of the evening.
Weber closed back within one on two Kristen Hesselbach free throws. The Wildcats took the lead, their first since the opening minutes, on Sampson's basket with 1:11 remaining.
"We had the lead almost the whole game,'' Selvig said. "It would have been a tough one to lose after playing pretty good and leading most of the game. We knew it was going to be tough. They had won five in a row. They weren't going away.''
Lorenzen and Deming missed 3-pointers on the same possession for Montana, but Keller rebounded Deming's miss. Tyler was fouled by O'Neil with 30 seconds to play, and put the Griz back in the lead for good, 61-60.
O'Neil missed a go-ahead shot with 27 seconds on the clock. Robertson had a great look down low with roughly 15 seconds to play, but Tyler blocked the shot, and Montana got the ball back with six seconds to play. Lorenzen sank her two free throws. Gjertsen missed a half-court try at the buzzer.
"They came back and for a moment they got the lead,'' Selvig said. "By golly we stepped right back up and answered. We didn't get many free throws, but we made the free throws when we had to. It wasn't like Idaho State where we were making shot after shot after shot. We didn't make many shots. We battled and were gritty.''
Notes: For the second straight game, Baird was the only reserve player to score for Montana. The Lady Griz played just eight players. Junior forward Lynsey Monaco is at home in Missoula after undergoing surgery. Guard Jackie DeShazer did not play. Š Montana got beat on the glass 39-31. Š Tyler had made just five 3-pointers in Montana's previous 15 games. Š Montana made eight 3-pointers against Saint Mary's in a 74-49 win on Dec. 19, its previous high for the season. The Lady Griz had eight 3-pointers by halftime Saturday. Š UM attempted 16 free throws on the road swing, making 14.
Min FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts
f-Keller 25 2-4 2-2 5 2 0 6
f-Deming 37 5-13 0-0 5 2 2 12
c-Tyler 31 6-12 2-2 7 3 17 2
g-Edwards 40 3-11 0-0 3 1 2 6
g-Lorenzen 40 5-12 2-2 2 0 9 17
McLeod 11 0-1 0-0 3 0 0 0
Brooks 7 0-2 0-0 3 1 0 0
Baird 9 2-4 0-0 1 5 0 5
Totals 200 23-59 6-6 31 14 15 63
Weber State (60)
Min FG-A FT-A Reb PF A Pts
f-Gjertsen 40 7-17 4-4 11 2 1 19
f-O'Neil 36 7-10 1-2 11 3 15
c-Sampson 28 4-6 5-6 2 1 0 13
g-Hesselbach 18 1-5 2-2 8 1 3 4
g-Robertson 37 0-9 0-0 3 2 6 0
Clyder-Gardner 10 1-3 0-0 1 0 0 3
Mickelsen 8 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0
Porter 17 2-4 0-0 1 1 3 4
Nelson 3 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0
McGuire 3 1-2 0-0 0 1 0 2
Totals 200 23-57 12-14 39 13 15 60
Halftime score: Montana 38, Weber State 28.
3-point goals: Montana 11-23 (Lorenzen 5-9, Tyler 3-3, Deming 2-4, Baird 1-3, Keller 0-1, Edwards 0-3), Weber State 2-15 (Clyder-Gardner 1-1, Gjertsen 1-6, Porter, 0-1, Robertson 0-7).
Turnovers: Montana 14 (Keller 3, Edwards 3), Weber State 16 (Hesselbach 3, Robertson 3).
Steals: Montana 13 (Tyler 5), Weber State 5 (Gjertsen 2, Porter 2).
Blocks: Montana 4 (Tyler 4), Weber State 1 (Gjertsen).
Officials: John Weeks, Bill Jump, Wallis Bryan.