Bulldogs defeat Skylights to end losing streak

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldogs ended a five game losing streak by defeating the Montana State-Northern Skylights 80-72 in a women’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Saturday night. By Lowell Peterson  The University of Montana Western Bulldogs ended a five game losing streak by defeating the Montana State-Northern Skylights 80-72 in a women’s basketball game at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon Saturday night. Sammi Bignell scored six points to get the Bulldogs off to a 10-2 start in a highly competitive basketball game against the Skylights. A three pointer by Bignell gave Montana Western the lead 17-11 before back to back threes by Jordan Bruuresma and Laramie Schwenke tied things up 17-17 at the 12:46 mark. The rest of the first half featured six lead changes and four tie scores as the teams slugged it out. A three pointer by Nicole Tams gave the Bulldogs a seven point lead with 2:49 to play before the Skylights answered with a 10-2 run capped off by a Nikki Tresch three with two seconds left to put Northern on top 42-41 as the buzzer sounded. Hayley Pettit started the second half with two baskets giving the Bulldogs a three point lead. The Skylights scored the next six points to regain the lead before Kelsey Callaghan nailed a three pointer to tie things up 48-48. After Montana Western reclaimed the lead, Schwenke scored to tie the game for the seventh time at 52-all with 11:24 to play. Bignell answered with a three point shot to put the Bulldogs ahead for good and with 1:38 to play she hit her fifth three-pointer of the game extending the lead to nine points, 74-65. Northern was forced to foul and missed free throws by Montana Western gave the Skylights hope for a comeback. Schwenke scored five straight points and Rachelle Bennett made two free throws for the Skylights to cut the Bulldog lead to 74-72 with 24 seconds to play. Another missed free throw by the Bulldogs gave the Skylights the ball with a chance to tie or win the game but they failed to score. Over the last 19 seconds of the game Pettit (four) and Tams (two) converted six free throws to secure the victory for Montana Western. Bignell, in an offensive slump coming into the game, led the Bulldogs with 27 points going 10 of 14 from the field and making all five of her three point attempts. Pettit scored 21 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Tams finished the night with 14 points and four assists. Alecia Wilson scored eight points, pulled down seven rebounds and led the team with eight assists. Callaghan had eight points and five assists. On the night Bignell (5-5), Callaghan (2-2) and Tams (2-3) combined to shoot 90 percent (9-10) on three point shots. As a team Montana Western shot .519 (28-54) from the field, .563 (9-16) on three pointers and .577 (15-26) from the free throw line. Three players led the way for the Skylights. Schwenke had 25 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Bruuresma scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Tresch finished the game with 15 points. MSU-Northern was .403 (27-67) from the field, .310 (9-29) from beyond the three point line and a perfect 1.000 (9-9) on free throws. Montana Western improved to 3-7 in the Frontier Conference and 13-10 overall. MSU-Northern fell to 4-5 in the conference and 17-6 overall. The Bulldogs face the University of Great Falls Argos (1-8, 7-15) Saturday night in Dillon. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.