<
>

Montana 94, Portland St. 80

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Mandy Morales scored 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Montana's 94-80 win over Portland State in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament on Friday night.

The Lady Griz (24-6) will face cross-state rival Montana State on Saturday night in the championship. The Bobcats defeated Idaho State 83-72 Friday in the other semifinal game. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the women's NCAA tournament.

The Vikings (22-9) led 49-48 at the break but Montana rallied in the second half. Clinging to a 68-64 lead with nine minutes remaining, Montana's Britney Lohman took over. She scored 10 of the next 16 points to help the Lady Griz build a 10-point lead with just over a minute left.

Along with picking up the defensive pressure, Montana outrebounded the Vikings 26-13 in the second half. Johanna Closson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Montana. Meanwhile, Portland State made just 11 field goals in the final 20 minutes.

Morales went 8-of-16 from the field and made all 12 of her free throws. She also led the team with seven assists. Lohman and Laura Cote finished with 14 points apiece for Montana, while Sonya Rogers and Sarah Ena each scored 13.

Claire Faucher led the Vikings with 27 points and Kelsey Kahle added 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds.