Mavericks score historic victory on Monroe's floor

Updated: March 12, 2005, 10:27 PM ET
Associated Press

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Hollie Tyler scored a career-high 29 points to lead Montana to an 80-64 victory over Weber State in the championship game of the Big Sky Conference tournament Saturday night.

Montana (22-7) beat Weber State for the third time this season and advances to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season and 16th time overall.

"We beat a heck of a basketball team for the third time," Montana coach Robin Selvig said. "They are one tough outfit. It's not often we don't dare play zone. I've got a heck of a basketball team to beat them three times."

Second-seeded Weber State (21-8), which won the Big Sky championship in 2002 and '03, is hoping for a WNIT bid.

Tyler, who shot 4-for-17 in Friday's semifinal, shot 13-for-17 from the field in the title game and surpassed her previous scoring best, 27 points in a victory over Florida State in December.

"I had the touch tonight," Tyler said. "I didn't have it last night. I was very disappointed in myself last night. This was the last time I'd get to play on my home floor and I didn't want to play my last game badly."

Up by seven points with about 3 minutes remaining, Montana outscored Weber State 10-1 down the stretch.

Katie Edwards scored all 12 of her points in the second half, including a 3-pointer that started a 6-0 run as Montana took a 60-51 lead with 7:37 remaining. Julie Gjertsen answered with a 3-pointer 13 seconds later.

"I really enjoy playing at Montana, especially in this atmosphere," said Gjertsen, the league co-MVP with Tyler and a member of the all-tournament team. "It was a real clean game. Montana's a class act."

Montana took a 68-58 lead on a basket by Jody McLeod with 4:27 remaining before Gjertsen hit another 3.

Gjertsen led the Wildcats with 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Brooke Hansen added 16 points for Weber State while Chelsey Warburton scored 11, including three 3-pointers. Juliann Keller added 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Montana, while point guard Lynsey Monaco had nine points and eight assists, bringing her two-game assists total to 19 – the second-most in league tournament history.

Montana's men are also going to the NCAA tournament, after beating Weber State 63-61 in the men's championship game. It was the first time the same schools have played in the men's and women's tournament championship games in the same year.

The last time the UM men's and women's teams went to the NCAA's was 1997. Weber State's men's and women's teams advanced in 2003.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press