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Montana women's basketball team wins thriller at North Dakota State

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MISSOULA — Junior forward Carmen Gfeller hit an 8-foot bucket as time was running out to give the Montana women's basketball team a thrilling 65-63 win over North Dakota State Saturday night in Fargo, North Dakota.

Gfeller's heroics completed a gutsy comeback by the Lady Griz (3-1). They trailed by 12 points late in the first half.

"They came out and zoned us and it kind of set us back a little bit," Montana coach Brian Holsinger told KMPT rado. "It got us a little bit out of whack but we hung in there with our defense.

"I was really proud of them. Second half we calmed down and started to execute what we can do."

Gfeller paced Montana with 18 points and 10 rebounds. She hit 8 of 11 shots from the floor. Sammy Fatkin added 12 points and Sophia Stiles and Katerina Tsineke each tallied 11. 

A sluggish start left Montana in a 34-24 halftime hole. The Lady Griz had 10 turnovers in the first half, including five by Gfeller, and the Bison had four. Tisineke led all scores in the first half with 11 points.

The Lady Griz started the second half with an 8-0 run to get right back in the game. Then the fourth quarter was back-and-forth the whole way.

Abby Schulte gave the Bison (1-3) a 59-57 lead on a putback with 3:17 left, but Fatkin answered with a 3-point play for Montana. Fatkin then gave the visitors a 61-59 lead on a shot with 2:24 left but the hosts answered with Schulte free throws to set up the fantastic finish.

Stiles hit a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left to give the Lady Griz a 63-61 lead. Schulte answered with a bucket off an inbounds play with 6 seconds left. Montana called timeout to set up a play but when it broke down, Gfeller took matters into her own hands with her game-winning basket.

Bill Speltz is Missoulian Sports Editor and has served as Sunday columnist the past 15 years. Do you have a story idea? Email Bill at bill.speltz@missoulian.com.

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