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Lady Griz top Denver 58-56

Published On: Dec 16 2012 08:52:49 PM MST
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MISSOULA, Mont. -

Montana came away with a 58-56 victory Sunday afternoon when they hosted Denver in Dahlberg Arena. With the win the Lady Griz will take a 6-3 record into Big Sky Conference play, which opens Thursday at home against Northern Arizona.

The Lady Griz were coming off finals week and a 10-day break since their last game, and it showed in the first part of the game, the Lady Griz looked rusty early taking almost six minutes to score their first points in the game.

Senior Alyssa Smith went 4 for 8 from 3-point range to score 12 points, a total matched by senior Katie Baker. Maiya Michel had 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Pioneers, who dropped to 4-6.

Montana missed its first 10 shots and, in a sign of things to come, its first two free throws and trailed 6-0 six and a half minutes in. Denver also started out just as cold. Six minutes into the game, the teams were a combined 1 for 18.

But just like that Montana hit 5 of 6, and freshman Shanae Gilham's three at the 11:07 mark gave the Lady Griz their first lead of the game, 12-11.

The teams went back and forth until Denver hit a late three sent the Pioneers to the locker room with a 30-28 lead. The basket was the eighth lead change of the first half.

Montana's defense had allowed just 18 points through the first 18 minutes of the second half while committing just five fouls, but after going up 10 on De Boer's free throws, the Lady Griz fouled eight seconds into Denver's next possession.

With the lead at eight, 58-50, Montana missed the first of what would be a 0-for-4 effort from the line over the final 1:43. Montana shot 44.4 percent in the second half to finish at 36.5 for the game.

The Lady Griz will host Northern Arizona (1-8) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Sacramento State (4-4) on Saturday at 2 p.m. before Christmas break.