POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) -- Chelsea Pickering and Ashleigh Vella scored 12 points each as Idaho State fought through shooting struggles to beat Northern Colorado 49-46 in the Big Sky Conference championship game on Saturday.
Idaho State (24-7) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and won the Big Sky tournament for the third time, first since 2007.
Victoria Timm led Northern Colorado (20-11) with 18 points, but Idaho State managed to hold standout Bears guard D'shara Strange to six points on 2-of-15 shooting.
Vella made a layup with 2:00 left to give the Bengals a 45-43 lead. Neither team scored again until Pickering hit a couple of free throws with 21 seconds left to put Idaho State up by four.
Timm's 3-pointer for the Bears with 13 seconds left cut the lead to one, but Kaela Oakes got free for a layup to seal the win for Idaho State.