MISSOULA, Mont.-- Carly Selvig's turnaround jumper gave host Montana the lead in the final minute and the Lady Griz held on for a 52-49 win over North Dakota Saturday afternoon in Big Sky Conference play. UND jumped out to a 10-0 lead and held a nine-point lead at the break, but Montana rallied to pull within a half-game of North Dakota for first place in the league standings.
"I liked our effort today which was much more common for how we've played all season long," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "We have some work to do, obviously, but our goals are still out there in front of us to achieve. It was a good college environment to play in. We just came up a couple plays short."
UND couldn't have asked for a better start, leaping out to that double digit lead before the first media timeout. Madi Buck tripled on each of the first two trips down the floor while Allyssa Wall and Mia Loyd added jumpers to quiet a Dahlberg Arena crowd of 3,456.
Montana (16-7, 10-4) immediately answered with seven of the next eight points to trim it to four. UND countered and re-claimed a lead of nine before the break at 25-16. That first half total was UM's lowest output of the season and North Dakota held the Lady Griz to just 23.3 percent shooting from the floor in the opening frame.
The home team came out of the break with back-to-back threes by Torry Hill and the lead was quickly trimmed to one on a Maggie Rickman jumper. Hill would later hit a jumper to give Montana its first lead with just over 12 and a half minutes remaining, 32-31. That advantage would grow to five before UND got a nice lay in off an out-of-bounds play by Emily Evers and then a Siri Burck three to tie the score at 36-all.
North Dakota's advantage was a half-dozen with 3:37 to go as the Griz scored the next seven points to reclaim the lead. Rickman had five points in the run for a 49-48 UM edge. Evers grabbed a huge offensive rebound on the ensuing UND possession and was fouled on the putback attempt. She would split the pair to knot the score at 49-apiece with 1:15 left.
Selvig caught from the left post and turned around to drain a 15-footer with under a minute to go to make it 51-49 Montana. Hill missed the back end of a trip to the free throw line to give UND seemingly one last chance trailing three with 12 seconds to go.
A turnover while looking for a pass in the corner for a tying three gave the ball back to UM with 11 seconds to go. After not being able to get the ball in on the first attempt and forcing a timeout, the Lady Griz got it to Hill and she was promptly fouled for a one-and-one opportunity.
After she missed the front end, UND was given one last chance. Evers was forced to fire from three with the clock winding down and Montana escaped with the slim win.
Offensive boards were critical in UM's win, claiming an uncharacteristic 15-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Griz, with their 38-37 rebounding margin, became the first UND opponent to win the board battle since Iowa claimed three more rebounds in a Dec. 28 win (14 games).
Loyd led UND with 13 points and nine rebounds while Buck added 10 points. Leah Szabla had two points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals in her return to the starting lineup. Evers tallied four points and eight boards in her first start of the season.
North Dakota (16-8, 11-4) heads home to play its final regular season home games. UND will host Northern Arizona Thursday and Sacramento State on Saturday.