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Lady Bulldogs Win First NAIA Tournament Game in 10 Years

Billings Mont. – Playing in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in 10 years the Montana Western Bulldogs (24-8) rallied for a 63-53 victory over Columbia (Mo.) (26-7) in the opening round of the tournament.


The Bulldogs used a strong fourth quarter to overcome a 10 point second half deficit to stun Columbia 63-53. 

Both teams were locked in a defensive battle for the most of the game. Missed opportunities by the Bulldogs allowed Columbia to take a nine point lead into halftime.

Columbia focused on stopping seniors Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kaye Bignell (Avon, Mont.), holding the two to a combined 0-17 shooting and one point in the first half. Sophomore Cierra Lamey (Wise River, Mont.) stepped up in the first quarter and senior Taylor Howlett carried the Bulldogs into the fourth quarter. Without the performances from Howlett and Lamey the Bulldogs would not have been in position to make a comeback.

Trailing by seven heading into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs couldn’t find any offensive momentum. Plagued by missed free throws and empty possessions the Bulldogs looked like were not going to overcome the deficit.

But the Bulldogs wore down the Columbia defense and shut down the offense. Outscoring Columbia 25-8 in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset and the comeback with a 10 point victory.

Palmore finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Bignell had a double-double, 11 points 11 rebounds. Howlett scored 13 points. Britt Cooper (Harrison, Mont.) scored 11 points and eight rebounds and Lamey had 10 points and eight rebounds. (Box Score)

The Bulldogs return to action Friday March 17, at 10:45 a.m. when they face two-seed Oklahoma City University in the second round of the tournament.