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Kenzie De Boer scores 19 points, Montana women top Northern Colorado 56-43 to win Big Sky

Kenzie De Boer scored 19 points, and Montana punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a 56-43 victory over Northern Colorado in Saturday's Big Sky Conference championship.

The Lady Grizzlies (24-7) will be making their 20th appearance in the NCAA tournament. They have an all-time record of 6-19 at the NCAAs.

Montana and Northern Colorado (20-12) exchanged defensive blows in the first half, with both teams shooting low percentages. UNC shot 28 percent in the first half, including 17 percent from the 3-point line.

Despite shooting well early, with three 3s in the first 5 minutes, the Lady Griz cooled off and shot 32 percent for the first half. De Boer led all first half-scorers with nine points.

Montana held the conference's defensive player of the year, D'Shara Strange, to three first half points and stymied her usual attack-the-basket style of play.