Bulldog basketball heads to Helena, Billings

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western Bulldog basketball teams head to Carroll College and Rocky Mountain College for games on Thursday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 29. By Brett Morehouse & Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team will wrap up the first half of Frontier Conference play with a pair of games on the road. On Thursday, Jan. 27, the Bulldogs will head to Helena, Mont. to take on the Carroll College Fighting Saints. Montana Western will complete their trip with a visit to Billings, Mont. for a Saturday match-up with the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears. Tip-offs are scheduled for 6 and 5:30 p.m., respectively. Carroll College will enter Thursday night’s game at 15-6 overall and 2-3 in the Frontier Conference. The Saints feature a potent backcourt led by junior guard Alysha Green. Green has averaged 17.8 points per game through five conference contests. Senior post Sara Meyer has also been productive during the first half of Frontier Conference play, averaging 10.8 points and a team-leading 5.6 rebounds per game. The Battlin’ Bears of Rocky Mountain College will begin the weekend with a 9-11 overall record and 2-3 in conference. Rocky has been able to produce four different players with double-digit scoring averages through five conference games. Leading the way is junior guard Micki Scally, who scores at a clip of 13.4 points per game (PPG). Following closely behind Scally are Dani Hosking (12.6 PPG), Callie Kautzman (12.2 PPG) and Laura Beach (10.6 PPG). Montana Western, 5-12 overall and 1-4 in conference, will be looking for momentum as they make the turn toward the second half of the conference season. The Bulldogs will also be working towards putting together 40 minutes of solid basketball. In three of their four conference losses, the Bulldogs have held significant leads in the second half, only to find their opponents rallying for victory in the final minutes. The Bulldogs have continued to play unselfish basketball through five conference contests; Montana Western is currently third in the nation and first in the Frontier Conference in assists per game with an average of 18.47. The Montana Western Bulldogs hit the road for their next two conference games after a successful three-game home stand. On Thursday, Jan. 27, the Bulldogs play the Saints at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m., the Bulldogs battle the Bears of Rocky Mountain College, who sport a 1-4 conference record. Montana Western, Carroll College, Westminster College and Lewis-Clark State are all tied for second in the conference with 3-2 records. Montana State University-Northern is at the top of the conference standings with a 4-1 record, their only conference loss coming against the Bulldogs. Montana Tech, at 2-3, will also face Rocky and Carroll. The University of Great Falls, 1-4, and MSU-Northern travel to Westminster and Lewis-Clark for games on Thursday and Saturday. Strong defense has resulted in three straight conference wins for the Bulldogs, allowing just 61, 64 and 65 points in their last three games. In those three games the scoring average for UMW has been 72.7 points per game (PPG). Montana Western has three players scoring in double figures: Brandon Brown leads the way with 18.95 PPG, Cody Thueringer scores 14.79 PPG and Tyler Hurley is at 11.10 PPG. Brown’s average tops the conference while Thueringer ranks fifth. Brown also tops the Bulldogs and the conference in assists at 5.37 per game. Kyle Perry is the Bulldogs top rebounder at 7.7 per game, good for third in the conference. Perry also leads in blocked shots with 37, good for 1.85 a game. Jared Smithson is second in the conference in three point percentage at .417 (43-103) behind only Anthony Carter of Rocky Mountain at .436 (34-78). Cody Thueringer ranks fourth at .398 (39-98). As a team Montana Western ranks sixth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with 170 made three point field goals. The Bulldogs are tied for 15th in three point percentage at .377. Carroll has only one player scoring in double figures. Andy Garland gets 18.33 PPG, good for third in the conference. Dillon, Mont. native Chase Goedecke is second at 9.06, followed by Ben Cutler (8.22) and Sam Cartmell (8.11). Goedecke is also second in the conference in rebounding at 8.12 a game and blocked shots with 31, or 1.82 a game. Rocky has three players scoring in double figures. EJ Ross is the top scorer at 13.67 PPG, followed by Anthony Carter (12.15) and Sergio Trocha (11.05). Trocha is the top rebounder in the conference at 8.52 a game.