WHO: Montana State at Portland
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 @ 2:00 p.m. (MST)
WHERE: Portland, Ore. – Chiles Center (4,164))
RECORDS: MSU: 1-2, 0-0; Portland: 3-2, 0-0
SERIES: Portland leads series 13-7; Streak: MSU W3
LAST MTG: Dec. 11, 2016 – Montana State 70 @ Portland 66
RADIO: Live on 1450 KMMS AM with Mark Martello on the call; pregame begins 15-minutes prior to opening tip.
VIDEO: Montana State’s game at Portland on Thursday afternoon can be viewed at wccsports.com/watch
ON THE ROAD, AGAIN: Montana State continues its arduous non-conference schedule when it travels to Portland on Thursday to face the Pilots at 2 p.m. (MST) in Chiles Center. The Bobcats are coming off a couple of setbacks last week, losing to BYU 72-58 and Utah 73-63. MSU got out of the gates slowly at BYU, getting down 40-18 at intermission. The Bobcats outscored the Cougars 40-32 in the second half. At Utah, MSU led by two-points at halftime. The Utes pulled away from a tie game midway through the fourth quarter with a 15-0 run to secure the victory.
BOBCAT PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Darian White helped pace the Bobcat women’s team in tough contests against BYU and Utah on back-to-back days. In the road opener at BYU on Dec. 10, White scored a team-high 16 points and added four steals. She also went 7-for-7 from the free throw line and snagged three rebounds. She followed that performance with 21 points at Utah. White shot over 50% from the field and totaled three rebounds, three assists and three steals during her 36 minutes on the court.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: In its season-opener against North Dakota the Bobcats went 14-40 (35%) from long distance. Last week at BYU and Utah, MSU hit 7-37 (18.9%).
THE SCOUTING REPORT: Portland – The Pilots are 3-2 on the season after dropping an 83-56 decision to Washington last Sunday in Seattle. Portland was paced by Haylee Andrews and Maddie Muhlheim with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Andrews went 5-11 from the field, including three 3-poiters, while Muhlheim’s total all came from long distance on 4-8 shooting. On the season, UP is led by Alex Fowler and Muhlheim, who average 13.6 and 11.4 points per outing. Fowler, a 6-1 sophomore forward from Townsville, Australia, also guides Portland under the boards, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game. As a team, the Pilots are shooting 44.9% from the field, including 35.5% from beyond the arc. Portland is also hitting at a 69.2% clip from the free throw line. UP has defeated Seattle U twice this season and has also recorded a 93-54 decision over Northwest University. Portland’s two losses were at the hands of Washington and No. 7-ranked Oregon. The Pilots are under the direction of Michael Meek, who is in his second season on The Bluff. Last winter, the Pilots went 21-11 overall and 11-7 in West Coast Conference action. Portland defeated Pacific, No. 11-ranked Gonzaga and San Diego to win the WCC Tourney title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The win over San Diego came on March 10, just days before everything was halted due to COVID-19.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Bobcats held the nation’s second longest home court win streak (31) before it was snapped by Portland State on Jan. 11, 2018. Since losing to San Diego on Nov. 24, 2015, MSU has gone 56-11 (83.%) in The Brick.
THE STREAK: With its win over North Dakota on Dec. 6, the Bobcats ran its consecutive winning streak to a school-record 18 games. Montana State started the streak last season on Jan. 11, 2020 with a 73-62 victory at Portland State. MSU closed out the 2019-20 season with a 76-71 win over Northern Arizona in semifinal action at the Big Sky Tournament on March 11 in Boise, Idaho. The season was halted the next day due to COVID-19. MSU’s 18-game win streak was snapped at BYU on Dec. 10 in Provo. The streak was the third longest in the nation at the time, behind only Oregon (24) and Princeton (22).
PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Montana State sophomore Darian White, who broke onto the women’s basketball scene last winter, has been named to the preseason all-Big Sky Conference team voted on by BSC head coaches and media members. White, a product of Boise, Idaho, was the 2020 Big Sky Freshman of the Year, after helping the Bobcats to a 25-6 overall mark, a dominating 19-1 league ledger and a Big Sky title. In what was arguably one of the best inaugural campaigns in MSU history, White collected 394 points, 150 rebounds, 104 assists and 76 steals. She played and started in all 31 games, averaging 12.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game. White, who recorded 25 games in double-digit scoring, including the last ten games, notched a season-high 23 points in MSU’s win at Eastern Washington connecting on eight-of-15 from the field and six-of-six at the line. She finished 25th in the nation in steals and 31st in the country in steals per game. In MSU’s two victories at the Big Sky Tournament, White was averaging 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists per game, before the championship game was called due to COVID-19. Northern Arizona’s Khiarica Rasheed was tabbed the preseason MVP. Also named to the preseason all-conference squad were Gina Marxen, Idaho, Beyonce Bea, Idaho, Dora Goles, Idaho State and Alisha Davis, Northern Colorado.
A LITTLE BIT OF TORI: When it comes to shooting the three-ball, Montana State senior Tori Martell is a Lamborghini, a Bobcat star. She’s a spot-up shooter and a Big Sky hooper. She’s the Big Sky Top Reserve, she sets the academic curve. She can make it rain, and you’ll feel the pain. She’s a little bit, she’s a little bit, she’s a little bit, she’s a little bit T… La la la-la la la la, a little bit Tori. Martell, a product of Somerset, Wis., moved up the all-time Montana State three-point made chart last weekend, connecting on two triples. Martell has 152 career 3-pointers, which ranks fifth all-time. Ahead of Martell on MSU’s all-time list are Katie Bussey (254), Hannah Caudill (231), Oliana Squires (184) and Amy Meckling (174). Martell’s career 35.3% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 11th all-time at Montana State. Martell’s eight 3-pointers against North Dakota on Dec. 6, 2020 broke the MSU school-record of seven previously held by Amy Meckling (Jan. 2, 2000), Brandi Lewis (Feb. 13, 2003) and Hannah Caudill (Jan. 28, 2017). Martell’s total is tied for third most in the nation this season.
DARE TO BE: Sophomore Darian White has picked up where she left off last season. The preseason All-Big Sky Conference selection leads the Bobcats averaging 19.7 points per game. She’s been over the 20+ point mark on two occasions, with a season-best 22 points in MSU’s season-opening win over North Dakota. White, a graduate of Mountain View High School in Boise, Idaho, also leads the team in steals (11) and assists (9).
ALL JACKED UP: Sophomore Madison Jackson had her best game of the season at BYU last Thursday. The Parma, Idaho product tallied 11 points, her first double-digit output since notching a career-best 15 points at Eastern Washington last January. Against the Cougars, Jackson did most of her work at the free throw line connecting on a career-best nine-of-nine. For the season, she is averaging 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
KUDOS TO KOLA: Sophomore Kola Bade Bear has played and started in all three games to date. The 6-2 product of Billings Senior is averaging 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. Bad Bear had her best outing of the season at Brigham Young last Thursday. Against the Cougars, she posted a career-high 10 points, connecting on three field-goals and a four-of-four effort from the free throw line. Bad Bear pulled down a season-best six rebounds at BYU, as well.
EASY PEASY: True-freshman Katelynn Limardo has started all three games for the Bobcats to date. The 6-2 product of Silver City, N.M. (a town where lawman Harvey Whitehall was the first to arrest Billy the Kid, known at the time under the alias Henry Antrim in 1875) is averaging 7.7 points per game, which is third best on the squad. Limardo recorded her first double-digit output of the season against Utah last Friday, scoring 10 points, on three field-goals, two 3-pointers and a 2-of-2 effort from the line. She is also averaging 4.7 rebounds per game and is shooting 83.3% from the free throw line. She currently has made nine consecutive free throws.
THE PRIDE OF ROSEMOUNT: True freshman Taylor Janssen has played in all three games to date and is averaging 21.4 minutes per contest. The Rosemount, Minn., native is averaging 5.7 points per game, which is fourth best on the squad. Janssen posted a season-high 10 points in MSU’s season-opening victory over North Dakota. Against the Fighting Hawks, Janssen recorded four baskets, including two from long distance. She also added five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the victory.
LAUDING LEXI: True Freshman Lexi Deden has played in all three games in the early season, averaging 12.5 minutes per game. The 6-1 forward from Missoula is averaging 5.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per contest. Deden recorded a season-high nine points in MSU’s season-opening victory over North Dakota. Against the Fighting Hawks, she connected on four-of-six from the field, including one 3-pointer. On the season, she is shooting 60% from the field. The Deden name is very familiar in Montana basketball circles. Deden’s mother Dawn (Silliker) Deden played for the University of Montana from 1984-88. At UM, she was a 1,000-point scorer and was an All-Mountain West Conference selection. In addition, Lexi’s aunt and head coach at Sentinel High School, Karen Deden, was a standout at Washington and is in the Husky Hall of Fame.
SKYE’S THE LIMIT: Skye Lindsay, who sat out last season after transferring from Pepperdine, saw her first action at BYU and Utah. A product of Orem, Utah, Lindsay went scoreless in her old backyard of Provo on Thursday, hampered by foul trouble. Against Utah on Friday afternoon, she posted five points and hauled down four rebounds.