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Big Sky: Highlights from Day 1 of 'Road to Reno'

On the opening day of the Big Sky Women's Tournament, action was the name of the game, as records were broken and dreams were dashed.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Most people usually see Monday as a boring day.

If you were watching the Big Sky Tournament, you'd know that it was anything but.

Four teams punched their ticket to the quarterfinal round of Wednesday, and one team took it upon themselves to have a record-setting night. Here are the highlights from a busy day one of the 'Road to Reno':


The Idaho State Bengals and Northern Colorado Bears finished in a technical tie for eighth place in the regular season, but Northern Colorado won the season series to take the higher seed. This time, Idaho State would not be denied.

The Bengals (16-14) shot 21-for-42 from the field as they beat the Bears (13-16) 54-45 Monday afternoon to send Northern Colorado back home. Brooke Blair led Idaho State with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Northern Colorado was held to 34.6 percent shooting (16-of-46) from the floor, and only had 10 points from their leading scorer Savannah Smith.

Idaho State will now advance to play the no. 1 seed in the tournament, Montana State, on Wednesday, with hopes of pulling off the upset. The game starts at 12:05 p.m.


Weber State, after not making the postseason since 2003 (when they won their second consecutive Big Sky championship), was determined to make the most of their postseason.

With four players scoring in double figures (led by Yardan Danan with 24 points on 6-of-7 3-point shooting), the Wildcats (20-10) beat Portland State (4-26) 91-68 on Monday afternoon. Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Dunbar had 17 points and four steals for Weber State, who held the Vikings to 34.4 percent shooting (22-of-64).

Weber State will lace up their sneakers Wednesday night against no. 3 Idaho, with tipoff at 8:05 p.m.


No Brianna Burgos for Sac State? No problem.

Playing without the top three-point shooter in the Big Sky, Sac State turned to sophomore Maranne Johnson and first-team Big Sky senior Adella Randle-El. Johnson finished with a career-high 31 points, and Randle-El was one rebound and assist away from the team's first ever triple-double (20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) as the Hornets (14-16) beat Southern Utah (4-25) 102-89 on Monday evening.

As a team, Sac State set five Big Sky tournament records: points in a game, offensive rebounds (30), field goal attempts (96), most three-pointers made (19), and three-point attempts (58). Johnson also set an individual conference record with 18 three-point attempts, making seven (one shy of the conference record as well). The 191 points combined by both teams also set a tournament record.

Sac State will face no. 2 Eastern Washington in the 5:35 p.m. game on Wednesday evening.


The University of Montana women's basketball team is the Big Sky's version of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs. They may not always win pretty, but they win a lot.

Northern Arizona (6-24) gave the Lady Griz a run for their money in the first half of the game, holding Montana (20-10) to 37.5 percent shooting. In the third quarter, the Lumberjacks had the game tied at 49 before Montana went off. The Lady Griz went on a 29-14 run to finish their 78-63 win over Northern Arizona in the finale on Monday night.

Unanimous first-team All-Big Sky selection (and conference-leading scorer) Kayleigh Valley finished with 23 points, with teammate McCalle Feller leading all scorers with 28 points. Big Sky Freshman of the Year Alyssa Rader led Northern Arizona with 18 points.

The Lady Griz will be playing in the 2:35 game on Wednesday, playing no. 4 North Dakota.

All games will be available for streaming via