Fairbanks Scores 43 in Win Over Montana State

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Orem, Utah - It was the Robyn Fairbanks show at the McKay Center on Wednesday as the sophomore scored 43 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in Utah Valley State's 84-78 win over Montana State. She hit 14-for-19 from the field and also had three steals while breaking her own school record for points in a game.

"I thought she was great tonight. It is an impressive thing to watch somebody that, everybody knows we're going to go to her, and she just keeps coming out with great performances," said UV head coach Cathy Nixon. "She's put together a first half of a season that she can really be proud of."

Fairbanks, the nation's second leading scorer at 25.9 ppg, had her record-setting performance just two days after scoring a record 34 against UC Riverside.

Despite Fairbanks' dominance, the Wolverines (10-3) still had to hold off a late Montana State charge in the last minute of the game. UV had a seemingly comfortable 81-71 lead with 1:10 left before the Bobcats (5-6) scored seven straight points in a span on 29 seconds to trim the lead to three.

Fairbanks iced it though, hitting 3-of-4 free throws to help the Wolverines end their short two-game losing streak.

"I think we just played better together today. We're were more focused and in practice we worked on having better energy," said Fairbanks.

Asumi Nakayama was the only other Wolverine in double figures with 10 points. Ashley Grimm had eight points and seven rebounds while Rebekah Peterson had six points and seven boards off the bench.

Montana State had five players reach double figures led by Rebecca Mercer and Alyssa Nelson with 17 apiece. Krislyn Wallace had a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats while Nelson also added a game-high seven assists.

In the first half, Fairbanks started quickly, scoreing 11 quick points and helping her team to a 14-8 lead just 4:56 into the game.

The lead was bumped up to 10 at 19-9 on a Peterson jumper from the baseline with 13:24 left in the first half.

The Bobcats clawed their way back into it though, scoring seven straight points to cut the lead to three.

Utah Valley increased the lead back to as much as nine points in the half on two occasions and carried a 45-38 lead into the break led by 20 from Fairbanks.

In the second half, the Bobcats made a run and eventually tied the game at 62 on a Whitney Connolly three-pointer with 7:50 remaining. Utah Valley State then went on a 9-2 run to take a 73-64 lead with 4:50 left, capped by a Fairbanks steal and Sandy Marvin layup.

The lead was trimmed to four when Connolly hit another three with 3:06 to go before Fairbanks scored on an assist from Hollie Beaman and the two both hit two free throws each to push the lead to 81-71, setting up the final 1:10.

"If feels good to be able to go into the holiday with a win," said Nixon. "This last stretch of five games has been a challenge and we're playing really good teams. So I'm proud of the kids and how they put together some good energy...we weren't necessarily brilliant but it was a tribute to the kids that they got it done when they needed to."

The Wolverines will have a few days off for Christmas before heading to the Pacific Northwest next week for a two-game swing that has them at Portland on December 28th and Portland State on December 30th.

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