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Thomas' Late Hoop Lifts the Pilots Past Montana State

Dec. 4, 2006

BOZEMAN, Mont. --- Portland freshman forward Laura Thomas scored a game-high 18 points and hit the game-winning hoop with six seconds left as the Pilots topped Montana State 63-62 in a non-conference women's basketball game at Worthington Arena on Monday night. Thomas added 11 rebounds for her first collegiate double-double.

After leading the entire second half, the Pilots fell behind by one point after MSU's Alyssa Nelson converted two free throws to make the score 62-61 with one minute left. On the ensuing possession, UP freshman guard Kendra Morris couldn't convert on a runner. The rebound deflected off of Portland, giving possession to the Bobcats.

On the other end, Nelson was whistled for traveling with 16 seconds left, setting up Portland with a final possession. Then with the clock winding down, Morris fed Thomas with a pass to the right wing. Thomas beat two defenders to the hoop and converted the game-winning lay up with five ticks left.

After getting the ball to half court and calling a time out with three seconds left, Montana State was unable to get a shot off as time expired.

The win is the first on the road this season for the Pilots, who improve to 5-4 overall. The Bobcats drop to 3-4.

It's the fourth time this season that Thomas has scored in double figures. Sophomore forward Allyson Sievers had another strong showing with a season-high 15 points, to go along with five rebounds and three blocked shots. Warren, who finished with nine points, also blocked three shots as Portland totaled nine for the game.

UP freshman guard Laiken Dollente scored six points, ending her string of games scoring in double figures at eight. Senior forward Anne Graner and sophomore guard Karlie Burris each dished out a team-high three assists.

Nelson led the way for Montana State with 14 points. Nubia Garcia added 11, while Krislyn Wallace grabbed 10 rebounds.

Montana State opened the game on a 15-4 scoring binge. The Pilots countered with a 19-2 run to take a 23-17 advantage with 7:00 left in the half. Portland led at the break 34-30 and opened an eight-point lead four minutes into the second period, matching its biggest lead of the game.

Portland shot 43.3 percent (26 for 60) from the field and hit two of six three-pointers. The Pilots held the Bobcats to 33.3 percent (21 for 63) shooting. MSU hit only three of 18 three-point attempts, but was 17 of 21 (81 percent) from the free throw line. The Pilots hit nine of 14 (64.3 percent) tries from the charity stripe.

MSU outrebounded the Pilots 43-37, but Portland outscored the Bobcats 38-24 in the paint. Portland turned the ball over 18 times compared to 20 turnovers for the Bobcats.

The Pilots next host the Denver Pioneers on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the Chiles Center. UP is 4-1 at home this season.