GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Junior Lexi Klabo scored a game-high 21 points but it wasn't enough as host North Dakota ended its 11-game home winning streak at the hands of Montana, 54-43, Thursday evening in Big Sky Conference play. The Lady Griz remained undefeated in league play with the win while the Fighting Hawks are still in search of their first conference win of the season.
Klabo went 10-for-16 from the floor to set the tone down low, but her teammates combined to go just 7-for-30, including 2-for-18 from distance as the Lady Griz stole their first road win in three seasons. Montana had nine players combine for their 54 points, using a 19-7 edge on the offensive glass in the win.
Caitlin Lonergan scored a dozen to pace Montana while McKenzie Johnston added nine points and eight rebounds.
Those 19 offensive boards allowed were uncharacteristic for a North Dakota team to give up. While Montana only turned those into 10 second-chance points, the Lady Griz never allowed UND to get into a rhythm offensively or go on a run to take control of the game.
It was a slow start for both teams as the game's first points didn't come until more than two minutes were already gone. North Dakota's first field goals were back-to-back makes by Klabo followed by a traditional three-point play by Fallyn Freije and it was 7-4 UND at the first media timeout. North Dakota, however, would go on a seven-minute stretch without a field goal to allow the visitors to pile up a 17-10 advantage early in the second period.
The Lady Griz' edge grew to as many as eight in the opening half before settling on a five-point cushion at the break, 26-21, in a low-scoring affair. Although UND got a it down to a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, another seven-minute scoring drought helped Montana mount a lead of double figures before securing the win, 54-43.
Freije finished with seven points and nine rebounds while Melissa Dailey added a pair of threes for North Dakota.
North Dakota (7-7, 0-3) hosts Montana State, the team UND tied for the Big Sky regular season crown last season, in a 2:00 p.m. game Saturday at the Betty.
Notes: Montana's win was the first road win for second-year UM head coach Shannon Schweyen ... It evened the all-time series between the teams at 8-8 and halted a UND winning streak of four ... North Dakota's last home loss was an overtime setback to Montana State (Saturday's opponent) on Jan. 12 of last season ... Klabo has scored 20 points or more seven times this season and 11 times in her career ... She went into the game leading the NCAA in free throw makes (90) but made her only attempt Thursday ... UND was 2-for-20 from beyond the three-point arc ... Thursday's win was Montana's first in the Betty since UND's first year in the Big Sky Conference (2/9/13) ... Faith Dooley registered the first blocked shots of her career, both coming on the same possession in a flurry late in the first quarter ... Akealy Moton (injury) and Kaila Burroughs did not dress in the loss.