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Basketball playoffs: UMW women out, men advance

UMW News Bureau

The 2010-2011 season came to an end for the University of Montana Western women’s baseketball team with a 90-83 loss in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs against Montana Tech on Tuesday, March 1. The men advanced to the second round of the Frontier Conference playoffs after defeating the University of Great Falls 87-65 on Wednesday, March 2. By Brett Morehouse & Lowell Peterson The 2010-2011 season came to an end for the University of Montana Western women’s basketball team with a 90-83 loss in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs against Montana Tech on Tuesday, March 1. The men advanced to the second round of the Frontier Conference playoffs after defeating the University of Great Falls 87-65 on Wednesday, March 2. The Montana Western women's team and the Montana Tech Orediggers played a relatively low-scoring first half and exchanged the lead on several occasions. With just over three minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run led by freshman Roxanne Thurman. The run turned a six-point deficit into a one-point lead. However, Oredigger guard Brooke Pokorny would swing the momentum back in favor of the home team when she completed a three-point play with two seconds left to give the Orediggers a 33-31 halftime lead. The second half of play featured an offensive explosion as both teams combined to score 109 points in the final 20 minutes. Montana Tech took advantage of 31 trips to the free throw line in the second half by converting 29 shots (94%). Montana Western shot extremely well from the free throw line as well (93%), although they were only able to get to the charity stripe 14 times. Montana Tech now stands at 20-10 overall and will take on Lewis-Clark State in the second round of the playoffs. Leading the way for the Orediggers on Tuesday night was Taesha Higbee with 26 points. Meghan Eisenman contributed 25 and Pokorny chipped in with 15. Montana Western finished the season with a 9-18 overall mark. As was the case all season, the Bulldogs featured a balanced scoring attack. Sophomore Hayley Pettit led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Nicole Tams slashed her way to 20 points while Sammi Bignell and Roxanne Thurman contributed 11 and nine points, respectively. Chloe Mosey, the lone senior on the Montana Western roster, completed her impressive career for the Bulldogs with 17 points, shooting 8-9 from the field. On Wednesday night, the Montana Western men's team drained their first nine shots of the game against the University of Great Falls Argonauts in a quarterfinal game of the Frontier Conference tournament, cruising to an 87-65 victory. The Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the game and the Argos were never able to recover as Montana Western built the lead to 33-8 at the 7:29 mark of the first half. By the time the horn sounded to end the first 20 minutes of the game the Bulldogs had a comfortable 22-point lead, 46-24. The only time the Argos would cut the lead to under 20 points was with 1:13 to play in the game, 84-65. Montana Western put ten players in the scoring column, three of whom posted double figures. Tyler Hurley led the way with 22 points, 18 coming in the first half when he dominated the game offensively. Brandon Brown added 15 points and had a game-high seven assists. Kyle Perry scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. Cody Thueringer scored nine points, had seven rebounds, and finished with six assists. Mark Lussier and Jared Smithson each went two of four from three-point range, scoring eight and seven, respectively. Kyle Erickson led the team in rebounds with eight. Brandon Boka was the only player to score in double figures for the Argos. The Dillon native came off the bench to score 23 points, making seven of eight three-point shots and both of his free throws in just over 20 minutes of action. Mark Celaya was second in scoring for the Argos with eight points. Celaya scored 38 points the last time the two teams met and was averaging 27.5 points per game in his last six contests. The Bulldogs improved to 22-8 on the season while the Argos finished their season at 12-18. All four host teams won their games in the opening round of the men's playoffs. Next up for the Bulldogs is the semi-final game against the Montana State University-Northern Lights, who beat Rocky Mountain College handily on Wednesday 91-68. The Bulldogs-Lights game will be played on Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m. on the MSU-Northern campus in Havre, Mont. The other semi-final game will be played in Helena as Carroll College hosts Westminster College. Also on Wednesday, Carroll defeated Montana Tech 75-69, and Westminster defeated Lewis-Clark State 82-70.
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