Vandal Women lose to Montana

Sophomore post KATIE SCHLOTTHAUER and the Idaho Vandals (3-5) made a couple runs at the visiting Grizzlies Saturday night, but in the end Montana (8-1) had too much height and experience and posted an 85-66 non-conference win in women's basketball action at the Cowan Spectrum.

The Grizzlies, now 8-1 on the season, came in on the heels of a 71-60 win over Washington State Friday night and put four players in double figures, paced by Mandy Morales who had 28 points and 7 assists. The Vandals were topped by freshman Katie Madison who had 25 points and 9 rebounds. Sara Dennehy added 12 points and 7 rebounds.

After the game Vandal coach Mike Divilbiss said, "It came down to two runs in the game…a run they had when it was a four-point game in the first half… We lost Morales in transition three times and (Dana) Conway once and they got four threes. Then in the second half, even with all that, we cut it to 10, and we were making a little charge, and we get three or four really good looks inside…not just Katie but two or three different people – really good looks that just didn't go in the basket, and that makes it a different game. We got four stops in a row and could have cut it to six."

Idaho was forced to challenge Montana's notoriously tough zone defense. "(Montana coach) Robin (Selvig) has been running that (zone) for as long as I've been in the northwest," Divilbiss said. "When I was a grad assistant at Eastern they were very effective in that. They recruit kids that fit that zone, big kids, and they execute it really well. He really believes in it, he stays with it, they execute it really well. They do a good job of figuring out where weaknesses are and guarding different things and match up different ways out of it. They do it very, very well. You absolutely, against them, have got to be able to score inside. You have to. You cannot live out on the perimeter. You have to score inside, and I thought Katie did an outstanding job of providing an inside presence for us, and we had some really, really good looks to be honest with you. But that's a very, very experienced team for us to be playing against in only our eighth game with an entirely new basketball team."

Playing in their first game without Jessica Summers, Madison and Divilbiss said the game served as a starting point for the rest of the Vandal season. "I'm really proud of our kids' effort, their togetherness," Divilbiss said. "It felt like a team. Even in defeat I think the kids were together and supportive and believe in each other. A good starting point…that's exactly right."

Madison added, "Now we know what we've got to do…it's a new start. We came out, fought hard and together with a new lineup basically. This is our starting point. This is where we have to grow from…good way to start."

Divilbiss was pleased with the game Dennehy had for the Vandals. "Sara Dennehy played (well). Sara played great over the weekend, too…I think Sara's a great player. She's going to be an integral part of our team, no question…You've seen my teams play a lot through the years. She's kind of a prototypical 4 for us…that 4 who can come down the floor, trail, shoot 3 and get the ball inside really well, put it on the floor; so I think she's going to meld into this role very, very well. But it's going to mean some of those other kids are going to have to step up, too, for us – Liz (Witte), Lindsey Koppen, Stephanie Jones, Hannah Wells. They're important. Also Katie (Schlotthauer). They've got to step up for us…"

All 10 available Vandals saw action and eight of them were on the floor for 10 or more minutes. All 10 scored. Ticey Westbrooks handed out six assists and collected two steals, one behind Koppen who led the team with three.

The Vandals will take a break from non-conference action this week for final exams. The next scheduled game will be Dec. 20 at Portland State. They will also be in action Dec. 29-29 in Missoula as they take part in the Montana Tournament.

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