Nov. 19, 2006
MISSOULA, Mont. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team was held to just 38 percent shooting from the field on Sunday afternoon as it dropped an 88-78 decision to the University of Montana; its first loss of the season. With the setback, the Zags now hold a 3-1 record, while the Grizzlies are 2-0 on the season. Gonzaga will look to get back in the winning column when it plays at Portland State on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Montana jumped out to an early 11-4 lead on the strength of Johanna Closson and Tamara Guardipee. Closson connected on 3-of-5 shooting in the first five minutes of action for seven points, while Guardipee hit 2-of-2 shots for the Grizzles other four points.
The Bulldogs responded with an 11-1 run to gain their first lead of the game at 15-12. The game see-sawed back and forth with neither team going ahead by more than three points until senior Katy Ridenour broke a 22-22 tie with back-to-back three-pointers at the 6:47 mark. Two three-pointers by Montana's Sonya Rogers and one free throw by Closson cut GU's lead to one, but Bowman hit two free throws and made a layup and Ridenour hit one free throw to give the Zags back a six point lead at 35-29 with 3:30 remaining on the clock before halftime.
The Grizzlies were able to cut the lead to 37-36 after a three-pointer by Britney Lohman, but back-to-back jumpers by sophomore Jami Bjorklund and a jumper by Bowman gave the Bulldogs the 43-38 lead at half.
Montana came out flying in the second half, scoring the first eight points to gain a two-point lead. It was Closson who was on fire, hitting two three-pointers out of the gate. Junior Michelle Elliott tied the game at 46-46 with a jumper, but the Grizzlies when on an 11-4 run to gain a 57-50 lead at the 13:49 mark; the largest lead of the game.
The Bulldogs responded with a 5-0 spurt, but a jumper by Sara Gale, a layup by Laura Cote and another three-pointer by Rogers gave Montana back a seven-point edge at 65-57.
Montana seemed to have control of the game until, with the Grizzlies leading 71-62, Gonzaga scored eight-straight points to come within one point of the lead. Bjorklund scored four points, while Bowman and freshman Tatriana Lorenzo both added two points a piece. Guardipee broke-up GU's momentum though with a jumper and Mandy Morales converted an old fashion three-point play to give Montana the 76-70 advantage with 3:09 remaining in the contest.
Gonzaga seemed to have a glimmer of hope when Ridenour made two free throws with 2:01 remaining to cut Montana's lead to 79-74, but Closson hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the game out of the Bulldogs reach.
Bowman led Gonzaga with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 7-for-8 accuracy at the free throw line. Bowman also added nine rebounds, four of which were offensive, and one assist. Also finishing in double-figure points was Bjorklund and Ridenour. Bjorklund finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal, while Ridenour added 13 points, four rebounds and one steal. The Bulldogs closed out the game shooting 37.9% (25-66) from the field, including 26.7% (4-15) from behind the three-point arc, and was 77.4% (24-31) at the free throw line.
Montana was led by Closson who scored a game-high 25 points and added five rebounds, one block and one steal. Rogers added 16 points, while Guardipee, Morales and Lohman all chipped in 10 points a piece. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 43.9% (29-66) from the field, including an impressive 61.1% (11-18) on three-pointers, and 76.0% (19-25) at the charity stripe.