Home Mexico Bobcats Open Cancun Challenge With New Mexico

Bobcats Open Cancun Challenge With New Mexico

Bobcats Open Cancun Challenge With New Mexico


NEXT UP:  Montana State plays in the 18th Cancun Challenge Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23 & 24, 2023. The Bobcats will face New Mexico on Thursday at 7 p.m. (MT) and will conclude play against James Madison at 7 p.m. Games for the Cancun Challenge are played at the Hard Rock Hotel Riveria Maya (Mexico) Convention Center. Other teams competing in the Cancun Challenge include Creighton, Georgia Tech, Green Bay, Maryland, Michigan State, UMass, and Washington State. The four-team Mayan Division features Green Bay, Maryland, UMass and Washington State. They will play a three-game round robin event. In the Riviera Division, six teams will be playing two games while in Mexico – Creighton, Georgia Tech, James Madison, Michigan State, Montana State and New Mexico.

THE MORE YOU KNOW: The Montana State women’s basketball team has won the Big Sky Conference regular season or tournament title – or both – in six of the most recent eight seasons. The Bobcats have posted five of the program’s eight 20-win seasons in the last eight years, as well.

DYK: The Bobcats second in the Big Sky in free throw shooting after the opening four games, hitting at an 79.5% (58-73) clip. Individually, freshman Natalie Picton is shooting 100% (9-9), while Katelynn Limardo ranks fifth in the Big Sky Conference shooting 75.7% (18-21).

KEEP FEEDIN’ DEDEN:   Lexi Deden, a 6-1 senior from Missoula, is averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Deden made her 32nd career start against North Dakota on Tuesday, and matched a career-high 22 points, while adding eight rebounds, one assist and one block. The Deden name is familiar in Montana basketball circles. Her mother Dawn (Silliker) played at Montana from 1984-88. At UM, Silliker was a 1,000-point scorer and was an all-Mountain West pick. In addition, Lexi’s aunt and former head coach at Sentinel High in Missoula, Karen Deden, was a standout at Washington and is in the Husky Hall of Fame. As a freshman, Deden posted a career-high 22 points vs. Northern Arizona.

ALL JACKED UP:  Madison (Jackson) Hall played in 29 games, including 16 starts last season. Over the summer, she married Brayden Hall, a former MSU men’s basketball manager. Last winter, Hall tallied a season-best 12 points on two occasions, the last coming against Northern Colorado. Against the Bears, Jackson connected on 5-6 from the field, with two triples. For the season, she averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, Jackson had a career-high 20 points against Idaho State. On Sunday afternoon against North Dakota, Hall tallied 5 points on two-of-six shotting, including one three-pointer. The Parma, Idaho product also hauled down a season-high five rebounds.

OH CANADA:  Marah Dykstra has started 14-of-33 games as a Bobcat is currently averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per outing. Last winter, the native of Vancouver, B.C., Canada averaged 3.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest, while shooting 38.2% from the field and 80.5% (33-41) from the free throw line. This season, Dykstra had her best outing of the season at Arizona State on Nov. 10, recording 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Against the Sun Devils, she also went 8-9 at the line. On Sunday afternoon at North Dakota, Dykstra registered six points and seven rebounds, while dishing out four assists. Last summer, Dykstra, a 6-2 forward, played for Team Canada at the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup in Madrid, Spain, July 15-23. During this year’s offseason she navigated a year-long process and survived two rounds of cuts to make the final 12-player roster. Five players returned to the squad from the 2022 U18 Canadian team that competed in the Women’s Americas Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of which Dykstra was a member. Team Canada cruised through pool play, defeating China 83-62, Czech Republic 66-61, Egypt 100-44, and Brazil 89-45. Dykstra averaged seven rebounds per game, the second-best mark of any athlete in opening round action. Dykstra finished World Cup play averaging 23.1 minutes, while chipping in 4.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

THE PRIDE OF ROSEMOUNT:  On Sunday afternoon against North Dakota, Taylor Janssen recorded seven points and seven rebounds, while notching one block. For the season, the 6-3 senior from Rosemount, Minn., is averaging 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per set. Janssen played in all 30 games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per outing last season for the Bobcats. She notched a season-high 11 points against Northern Arizona on Jan. 7, 2023. Against the Lumberjacks, she went 3-of-6 from the field, hit one 3-pointer and was 4-of-4 at the line. Janssen pulled down a season-high seven rebounds against Providence (MT) in the season-opener. As a freshman, she connected on 20 straight free throws before missing a charity toss against Weber State. Janssen came up short of the all-time Bobcat record of 25 set by Rebecca Mercer during the 2007-08 season.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Over the past 10 seasons the Bobcats have thrived in the warm confines of Worthington Arena. Since the 2012-13 season, Montana State has gone an impressive 115-33 (77.7%) overall and 80-23 (77.7%) in Big Sky Conference play on its home court. During that span – from the start of the 2015-16 Big Sky season to the beginning of 2017-18 in league play- MSU rattled off a 19-game home court win streak. In her 19 seasons at Montana State, Bobcat head coach Tricia Binford is 163-73 (69.1%) overall and 109-48 (69.4%) in Big Sky play in Worthington Arena. 

WIN 300:  With its 75-60 win over Weber State on Feb. 9, MSU head coach Tricia Binford notched her 309th career win, moving her past former Weber State bench boss Carla Taylor (308 -23 years). With MSU’s 92-84 victory at Eastern Washington on Dec. 31, 2022, Binford became just the third coach in Big Sky history to record 300 wins- all coming as a member of the league. Binford is second to Montana’s Robin Selvig (865, 38 years). In Big Sky play, Binford is second to Selvig (358) with 197 victories.  Binford is MSU’s winningest coach – men/women. This season marks Binford’s 19th with the Bobcat program. She is currently 314-234 overall and 197-118 in BSC play.

A FEW MORE NOTES: *Over the past seven seasons, the Bobcats have claimed three Big Sky regular season titles 2016, 2017, 2020; two Big Sky Conference Tournament titles 2017, 2022; made two NCAA appearances 2017, 2022; and one WNIT appearance 2016. *In the last five seasons, no Big Sky Conference team has won more league games than the Bobcats. Montana State has racked up 70 victories in Big Sky play since the 2019-20 season. The Bobcats are followed by Idaho (65) and Idaho State (64).

HARD BLOCK CAFE’: Montana State is ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky Conference, averaging 4.8 blocks per game. That average ranks No. 49 in the nation. Individually, sophomore Marah Dykstra leads the league averaging 1.50 swats per contest, while senior Lexi Deden ranks third in the Big Sky at 1.25 blocks per game.

CHARITY WORK:  Once again, the Bobcats are one of the top free throw shooting teams in the country. Currently, Montana State is shooting 79.5 % from the lines, which is second best in the Big Sky Conference and 28th in the nation. Individually, MSU is led by senior Katelynn Limardo, who ranks four in the Big Sky Conference at 85.7%, which puts her at No. 123 in the nation.

SCOUTING REPORT:  New Mexico – – The Lobos are shaking it up after losing four starters, with a lot of new and/or inexperienced players vying to fill all the available minutes. There will be a change in offensive strategy, as New Mexico is arguably faster and more athletic, thus less likely to rely on 3-point shooting from every position. Viane Cumber, a 5-foot-10 guard, scored 9.2 ppg last year and hit more than 40 percent of her 3-pointers after starting 15 games. Freshman Paris Lauro averaged 23.6 ppg and 8 rpg her senior year in Dallas, TX. The frontcourt gets a boost from Mississippi State transfer Charlotte Kohl, a native of Germany who stands 6-5 and once reeled in 18 rebounds in a game versus Arkansas. James Madison – – The Dukes made the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2015-16 and were the preseason No. 1 choice in the Sun Belt. Expect sophomore guard Peyton McDaniel to claim a starting spot; she shot 38 percent from 3-point range last year and averaged 11.5 ppg. Another anchor in the lineup is 6-foot-4 junior center Kseniia Kozlova (10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), a Moscow native who played high school ball in Florida and a year at Middle Tennessee. The Dukes added five transfers, two from Power 5 programs. Sean O’Regan is a JMU grad, was an assistant coach for the Dukes for nine seasons and has been head coach for seven years.


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