Stiles pierces the buzzer-beater to lift Lady Griz past Weber State on Thursday – Skyline Sports


Montana Lady Griz took a 10-day hiatus due to pandemic-related postponements before hosting Weber State on Thursday night in Missoula. The last time Montana took the field, UM fell 73-59 to rival Montana State.

UM lost 66-56 in Ogden, Utah to Weber State on New Years Day in the last game before the Wildcats play in Missoula Thursday night.


Montana senior guard Sophia Stiles, who missed the season opener against WSU due to illness, missed eight of her first 10 shots Thursday. But Malta’s former two-time Montana Gatorade Player of the Year drilled a long two-point jump off the dribble as time expired to bring Lady Griz to a 61-59 win over the upstart Wildcats.

The Lady Griz move to 6-3 in Big Sky Conference play, 13-5 on aggregate with the win. Weber State started 3-1 in the league, including sweeping Montana and Montana State to start 2022. But WSU suffered a six-game losing streak the Wildcats snapped against Sac State on Saturday only to lose again at Missoula on Thursday. . WSU is 4-8 in the league, 8-13 overall.


Montana senior Abby Anderson scored 14 points Thursday against Weber State / by Pixie Herbert

Stiles’ first life buzzer, at least by his own memory, helped him finish with eight points and an unforgettable moment in his enigmatic career. UM seniors Sammy Fatkin and Abby Anderson helped Montana regain momentum in a game that saw huge momentum shifts in favor of both teams.

The Lady Griz took a 15-7 first-quarter lead and closed the first quarter with a 24-15 advantage behind 20 points in the paint, all by Anderson and junior forward Carmen Gfeller. Gfeller went 4 of 4 with 10 points and Anderson was 4 of 5 with 10 points in the first 10 minutes.

Then the Wildcats entered the Lady Griz, forcing Montana to fire a variety of errant 3-point shots. The Wildcats finished the first half on a 12-2 streak to take a 35-33 lead at the break. Montana went 1 of 9 from beyond the arc in the first half.

In the second half, the Wildcats continued to use their methodical, deflected offense to slice through Montana’s defense. Weber State opened the second half on a 12-0 run to build the biggest lead of the night, 48-33, midway through the third quarter.

But a few timely steals and scores in transition midway through the fourth quarter helped Montana get back on track. And Fatkin’s spark helped Lady Griz close the gap. Fatkin finished with a game-high 20 points. Anderson had 14 points and five rebounds. Gfeller finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds but the Wildcats won the battle of the boards 37-32.

Kori Pentzer went just 1 of 7 from beyond the arc (Weber shot 4 of 12 from deep) but still led the Wildcats with 16 points and seven rebounds in 39 minutes. Daryn Hickok also scored 16 points while Emma Torbert had 12 points for a much-improved Wildcat team that has already won twice as many league games this season as the two it won last season.




Montana hosts defending champion Big Sky Idaho State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Missoula. UM lost 69-61 to ISU in Pocatello earlier this year. The Bengals fell 73-68 at Bozeman to Montana State on Thursday.

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