MSUB Men and Women Win on Clutch Shots at Home - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

MSUB Men and Women Win on Clutch Shots at Home

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The Yellowjackets finished 23 for 24 from the free-throw line in the second-best performance in program history as the MSUB women's basketball team battled to a 69-65 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over Concordia Portland Thursday during the first game of a doubleheader night at Alterowitz.
Rylee Kane (17 points), Tiana Hanson (16 points), and Marissa Van Atta (17 points) all made clutch contributions as the Yellowjackets held off a late surge by the Cavaliers for the win. Kane had seven assists, five rebounds, two steals, and was 6 for 7 from the free-throw line. Hanson led the team with seven rebounds, two blocks, and was a perfect 10 for 10 from the charity stripe. Van Atta was also a perfect 5 for 5 from the line with a team-leading four steals, adding-in four rebounds and an assist.
"Our team free-throw shooting was outstanding tonight and we needed every one of them," MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin said. "I am proud of our players, they fought hard tonight and it is nice to come away with this victory."
The Yellowjackets built a 37-24 lead at half-time on stingy defense and a 42.3 opening-half shooting percentage. MSUB had both of its 3-pointers in the first half and was 11 or 11 from the free-throw line to start the game. Concordia Portland battled back hard with a 19-10 third quarter, taking the lead in the final quarter on a layup by Keesha Sarman.
Down by three, 59-56, with 3:46 remaining in the game, Van Atta made a steal, finishing with the layup and the extra point to tie the score. Bailey Cartwright finished with two free-throws and Jordyn Peacock a layup to give CU the lead back, 63-61. This time it was Kane on defense who picked-off a CU pass, drawing a foul at the other end. She sank both shots to keep the momentum with MSUB.
The third straight steal from MSUB led to another possession. With the shot clock down to one second on the 'Jackets, Woodin called a timeout. On the inbounds play, MSUB spread out the corners and Kane fed Van Atta the ball who got the shot off just in time for the two-point, 65-63, lead. The shot by Van Atta was the dagger in the momentum shift. Sarman found the hoop one more time, but four free-throws from Hanson finished out the game, giving the 'Jackets the victory.
"It was nice to get off to a good start and we finally hit a couple of 3's in the same quarter," Woodin commented on the opening minutes. "Overall, I was very pleased with our first quarter on both ends. I also thought our defense was excellent in the first half. Our communication on the court was much better than it has been. Give Concordia credit though, they regrouped and played a very good third quarter to get back into the game. They knocked down several three's to be right back in it."
Grace Weeks finished with eight points and six rebounds, shooting 2 for 2 from the free-throw line for MSUB. Lexi Prevost had seven points, two assists, and two steals. Taylor Cunningham earned four points and two rebounds.
The win moves Montana State University Billings to 5-10 overall and 2-5 in the GNAC while dropping Concordia Portland to 4-12 and 2-6 in the conference.
MSUB shot 42.3 percent in the game from the field. The 'Jackets won the battle on the glass, 33-32, tying CU in points in the paint (28) and steals (10).
Concordia Portland increased their opening-half shooting percentage from 27.3 to finish at 41.7 percent. Danielle Hartzog led all players with 19 points. Peacock had 14 and Sarman 13 with a team-high seven rebounds. Starting just 1 for 13 from the outside, the Cav's added five in the second half, including two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter from Kizzah Maltezo.

Marissa Van Atta was clutch for MSUB down the stretch and led the team in steals.

The two teams were matched in the opening five minutes of the half. A 3-pointer from CU's Erin Higbie gave the Ca's a 9-7 lead. Kane grabbed her own offensive rebound, moving back out to the arc for a 3-point shot. On the next play, she stole the ball and on a jump stop increased the lead to 12-9. MSUB's Brina Hull found Weeks in the paint and Kane pushed the 'Jackets advantage to seven on a 3-point play. Van Atta went to the free-throw line, sinking a pair to move MSUB ahead by double-digits 24-13.
The Cavaliers dropped the deficit on five straight points finished by Hartzog. Van Atta stopped the run on a short jump shot just outside the key. At the free-throw line, two shots from Kane and a layup after a steal from Hull pulled MSUB ahead by 12, 30-18. Five straight points from Van Atta, two on a jumper and an open 3-pointer gave the 'Jackets their largest lead of the game at 14 points, 34-20. The Cav's earned four straight, but Hanson was fouled on a shot just before the break, making all three tries at the free-throw line to push MSUB ahead 37-24 at half-time.
Forcing their way back into the game, the Cavaliers opened the third quarter with a 9-4 run to close the gap to eight. Kane drove into the key, pulling up for a jump shot. Sharman finished a shot just inside the 3-point arc sparking a 17-6 run to put CU in the lead. For MSUB, Prevost dished the ball to Cunningham just under the rim and capitalized on the next possession with a layup. The MSUB defense came through, closing-out the Cavalier possession holding CU without a shot.
Kane began the fourth quarter drawing a foul with a drive straight to the basket. Maltezo made both of her game 3-pointers in the opening two minutes of the final quarter. Cunningham made a shot just under the 3-pointer arc and on a CU turnover, Kane found Hanson for a layup to move the lead back up to five, 54-49. Two quick turnovers from MSUB led to points for the Cavaliers. Sharman gave CU its first lead on a layup with five minutes remaining in the game, 57-56. Holding on down the stretch, the 'Jackets kept their composure to run out the clock.
"Both teams played hard and well in the fourth quarter," Woodin said. "I was proud of our team for hanging in there.  Marissa made a couple of huge plays down the stretch. Her steal and 3-point play late in the game to get us even was critical and then her jump shot with only one second left on the shot clock was awesome. I was very happy for her to get an opportunity to enjoy that moment."