<
>

Montana 77, Weber State 70

MISSOULA (AP) -- Lynsey Monaco had a career-high 21 points and
eight assists Saturday to lead Montana to a 77-70 victory over
Weber State, clinching the Big Sky Conference title and the right
to play host to the league tournament next weekend.

Hollie Tyler added 17 points and five blocked shots for Montana
(20-7, 13-1 league), which has won 19 regular-season conference
titles in the past 25 years.

Montana never trailed in the second half, but the Lady Griz
couldn't distance themselves from the Wildcats either.

Montana led by as many as 10 points, the last time at 51-41 on a
three-point play by Monaco with 14:19 remaining.

Weber State (20-7, 11-3) answered with a 13-5 run, capped with a
3-pointer by Julie Gjertsen to pull within 56-54 with 10:03
remaining.

Weber got within 64-63 on a three-point play by Becky O'Neil
with 6:19 to play.

Montana answered with an 8-2 run and took a 72-65 lead on a
layup by Monaco with 3:03 remaining, putting the game out of reach.

Gjertsen led Weber State with 20 points and six assists,
including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, while Sara Tuomi had 18 points
and Becky O'Neil finished with 15.

Weber State led by as much as 13-7 on a three-point play by
Gjertsen with 13:30 left in the first half, but Montana closed the
half with a 9-3 run to take a 36-30 lead.

Katie Edwards added 12 points for Montana while Jody McLeod had
nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Big Sky Conference tournament begins Thursday with No. 6
seed Sacramento State facing No. 3 Northern Arizona and No. 5 Idaho
State taking on No. 4 Eastern Washington. No. 2 Weber State will
play the highest remaining seed on Friday, followed by Montana's
game against the lowest remaining seed.

Saturday's championship, with a trip to the NCAA tournament on
the line, begins at 4 p.m.