MOSCOW -- The Idaho Vandal women's basketball team made it four straight wins Friday night, edging past the Montana State Bobcats 62-61 at Memorial Gym.
"We have all the confidence in the world," Idaho coach Mike Divilbiss said. "Our kids believe. That's what you get when you have a group of kids who love each other, trust each other and the circle is tight."
The UI victory was sealed when Jen Schooler drove to the basket in the final moments and was fouled. She knocked down two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining to put the Vandals up by a single point.
MSU's Rebecca Alvidrez then drove the length of the court before passing the ball to Candis Wilcox, whose 20-footer failed to fall as the final buzzer sounded.
The victory evened UI's record at 4-4, while MSU slipped to 4-5.
"We practice free throws every day," Schooler said. "I wasn't nervous. It was just like I was shooting by myself in practice. I thought Alvidrez was going to have her turn, but she dished it off, and the shot didn't go."
Divilbiss was impressed with Schooler's ability to step to the foul line and hit the free throws.
"Those (free throws) were large," Divilbiss said. "That's leadership. Leadership is someone who is willing to step up and make a play when a play needs to be made. Jen did that."
The Bobcats led by six points with 12:44 left in the game when the Vandals fought back.
Idaho finally tied the game at 46-46 with 8:40 to go when Keisha Moore hit a bucket. Moments later, Meg LeBlanc scored off a feed from Schooler to give the Vandals their first lead of the game.
The game was tied five more times before Blake hit a jump shot to put MSU up 61-60 with a half minute left to play. That set up Schooler's heroics at the line.
The Vandals now take a week off for exams before returning to action next Saturday against Idaho State. The game is set for 5:30 p.m. and will be part of a Kibbie Dome doubleheader with the UI men's team taking on Cal State Northridge in the second contest.
MONTANA STATE (4-5)
Rebecca Alvidrez 6-11 4-5 18, Candis Wilcox 1-7 0-0 3, Isabel Stubbs 0-2 0-0 0, Kati Burrows 4-9 1-4 11, Jessica Blake 8-10 3-4 19, Tabitha Wesley 2-5 0-0 4, Jinnifer Jeresek 0-2 0-0 0, Cassie Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Ember Harberts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 12-19 61.
Jen Schooler 1-4 4-4 7, Meg LeBlanc 3-5 0-0 8, Darci Pemberton 6-13 3-4 17, Keisha Moore 6-10 1-3 13, Julie Wynstra 6-12 5-6 17, Taylor Benson 0-4 0-2 0, Jennae Krell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 13-19 62.
Halftime -- MSU 33, UI 27. 3-point goals -- MSU 5-13 (Alvidrez 2-3, Wilcox 1-5, Burrows 2-2, Wesley 0-2, Jeresek 0-1), UI 5-14 (Schooler 1-3, LeBlanc 2-3, Pemberton 2-5, Wynstra 0-1, Benson 0-1, Krell 0-1). Total fouls -- MSU 15, UI 15. Fouled out -- none. Rebounds -- MSU 33 (Stubbs 8), UI 27 )Pemberton, Moore 7). Assists -- MSU 15 (Alvidrez 6), UI 10 (Pemberton 3). Att-537.