UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western Bulldogs avenged an earlier loss and defeated the Montana Tech Orediggers 66-52 in a women’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Friday night. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western Bulldogs avenged an earlier loss and defeated the Montana Tech Orediggers 66-52 in a women’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Friday night. Before the game the Bulldogs honored Nicole Tams, the lone senior on the team. Tams has been a starter for Montana Western for the past three seasons and is completing a stellar five year career for the Bulldogs. Tams was injured in her first year and received a medical redshirt allowing her to get the year back, enabling her to play four full seasons for Montana Western. After the Bulldogs’ Hayley Pettit and the Orediggers’ Dannielle Devenny traded baskets, Sammi Bignell scored off a turnover giving Montana Western a lead they would keep for the rest of the game. A three pointer by Morgen Thacker gave the Bulldogs a 17-7 lead at the 9:30 mark. Two free throws by Tabitha Tomlinson pulled the Orediggers to within seven points but Pettit and Tams scored back-to-back baskets to build the Bulldogs’ lead back to 11 points and they would maintain double digit leads the rest of the game. Montana Tech missed shots and turned the ball over numerous times in the first half. The Bulldogs defensive pressure resulted in 10 steals off 15 Oredigger turnovers leading to easy baskets and the first half ended with the Bulldogs holding a comfortable 35-18 lead. Bignell opened the second half with six straight points pushing the Bulldogs lead to 41-18. Montana Western pushed the margin to 27 points when Kassi Kerbs nailed a three point shot to extend the lead to 57-30 with nine minutes to play. The Bulldogs still had a 20 point lead with 2:46 remaining before the Orediggers scored the game’s final six points, the last three by Jessica Sturm. The Bulldogs had balanced scoring on the night as nine players broke into the scoring column. Bignell scored 16 points, going 7-12 on field goal attempts. Pettit scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Tams had nine points, seven assists and three steals. Alecia Wilson scored six points, grabbed five rebounds and had a team-high nine assists. Roxy Thurman scored eight points. As a team Montana Western shot .400 (26-65) from the field, .462 (6-13) on three pointers and .727 (8-11) from the free throw line. Devenny (12 points) and Laini Kalumbi (10 points) led the Orediggers in scoring. Kelsey DeWit was the rebound leader with nine and Tomlinson had three assists. Sturm finished the night with eight points. Mandy Machinal, who scored 37 points the last time the two teams met, was held to six points. Montana Tech was .309 (17-55) from the field, .100 (1-10) from beyond the three point line and .708 (17-24) on free throws. The victory moved Montana Western (4-8, 14-11) into a fifth place tie with Montana Tech (4-8, 9-15) in the Frontier Conference standings. The Bulldogs finish the regular season with games on the road against the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears (6-5, 17-9) Thursday night Feb. 23 in Billings and the Carroll College Fighting Saints Saturday night Feb. 25 in Helena. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.