Montana State-Billings' 20-2 run helps it defeat Academy of Art 60-59
POMONA, Calif. -- Montana State-Billings won its quarterfinal game against the Academy of Art on Friday 60-59.
The No. 7 seeded Academy of Art (23-8) opened up the game with a great start. In the first 5 1/2, AAU had scored 21 points to Montana State-Billings' (24-7) seven.
The PacWest champions had jumped out to the early lead off some fast breaks and poor shooting by the No. 2 seeded Yellowjackets. Starting at the half-way mark MSUB would make a small run starting with two free throws by Alisha Breen to draw the Urban Knights lead back down to seven 23-16. PacWest Player of the Year Krystal Forthan made a layup with 1:35 left in the first half to take a 10 point lead 30-20. MSUB's Austin Hanser would respond with a 3-point shot, to take the lead down to seven. AAU would score the last three points of the half to take an 11 point lead 34-23 into the break.
MSU Billings shot just 28 percent from the field in the first half, and was only 7 percent (1-for-14) from 3-point range. At the break Hanser led MSUB with six points and five rebounds.
At half time, the Academy of Art was 35 percent from the field and 30 percent from 2-point range. The Urban Knights' DI transfer student-athlete Forthan had nine points and eight rebounds.
From their lead at the 14:01 mark, the Yellowjackets were in steady control of the game, up by as many as eight points until at the 3:53 mark, AAU's Zoie Sheng made her second 3-pointer of the game to draw the Knights back to within one point 53-54.
GNAC Player of the Year, Bobbi Knudsen would hit a 3-point shot with 2:53 left in the game to put the 'Jackets back up by four 57-53. With a 1:57 left in the game, the Urban Knights' Forthan hit a jump shot to put the Academy of Art back in the lead for the first time since MSUB went on the 20-2 run.
Knudsen would take the ball down the court for the Yellowjackets and drive into the basket to make a pull-up jump shot with 28 seconds left in the game to give the lead back to MSUB 60-59. The Urban Knights would have possession of the ball with under 20 seconds left in the game, but both shots by AAU would not go in, and off the second miss, Hanser would pull down her ninth rebound of the game to give MSUB the ball with under a second to go.
In the second half, MSUB bettered its shooting average by a little more than 10 percent to finish the game shooting 33 percent from the field. The Yellowjackets also made five more 3-pointers in the second half to bring their shooting average up from three-point territory to 28 percent.
MSUB also had five fewer turnovers in the second half than they did in the first half. Overall the Yellowackets were able to convert AAU's turnovers into 18 points, while the Urban Knights had just eight points.
Forthan would finish the game for AAU with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds to extend her streak to 16 consecutive games with a double-double. Sheng finished with 13 points. Jasmin Guinn had 13 rebounds for the Urban Knights.
The Yellowjackets would finish the game with three players in double-digits in points. Knudsen had a team-high 17 points, including the game-winning jump shot, and a game-high six assists.
Hanser was just shy of a double-double as she ended the game with a career high at MSUB of 14 points and nine rebounds. Hanser had three treys in the game and was a solid 3-3 from the charity strip to finish as the only Yellowjacket to make all of her free throws.