No. 25 Western women avenge loss to Orediggers

By Bill Foley

Montana Western senior Kay Bignell scored 23 points to lead the No. 25 Bulldogs Thursday night at the HPER Complex.

She was one of three Bulldogs scored in double figures as Western won its third straight.

One number that stuck with Montana Tech head women’s basketball coach Carly Sanon, though, was 24. That’s how many times the Orediggers turned over the ball in a 66-56 Frontier Conference loss to the Bulldogs. Stats

“I think that’s the most we had all year,” Sanon said of the turnover spree.

Thirteen of those turnovers came in the second half as the Bulldogs 2-3 zone defense kept the Orediggers off their game.

“We didn’t move the ball well,” Sanon said. “We kind of played one pass, shot. We didn’t get the ball moving and making them guard us like we needed to.”

The game was a stark contrast from Tech’s 70-65 win over the Bulldogs Jan. 5 in Dillon.

Oredigger senior Martha Dembek scored 27 points in the first meeting. She was held two 12 points Thursday night. Just two of those points came in the second half.

“We really attacked them hard off the dribble down there,” Sanon said. “We got to the foul line, and that’s really why we got the win. They really stopped that tonight.”

Tech shot just six free throws all night, and none of them came in the second half. Another huge difference was the play of Bignell, who scored seven points in the first meeting.

“She got loose on us tonight,” Sanon said.

Bignell also grabbed seven rebounds.

The Tech coach wouldn’t use the absence of senior point guard Hattie Thatcher as an excuse. Thatcher injured a knee last Friday and missed the last two games. Her return is not known.

“Yeah, it hurts, but Kourtney (Coverdell) does a great job for us,” Sanon said. “We need people to step up. You lose a leader, but somebody has got to fill those shoes now. We played well at Great Falls without her. We need to get back to that.”

Still, the Orediggers led much of the first half, and Tech held a 28-24 advantage late in the second quarter.

Then Western scored eight of the final 10 points of the second quarter to take a 32-30 advantage into halftime.

Coverdell opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to put the Orediggers up 33-32. That, however, was the last lead for the Orediggers.

Bignell answered with a bucket off a nice pass from Britt Cooper. That sparked an 11-3 run that put the Bulldogs up for good.

Western led 47-43 after three quarters, and Western took command with a 10-3 run to start the final frame.

Western’s Aniese Palmore, the reigning Frontier Conference Player of the Week, added 16 points and eight rebounds in the victory. Savanna Bignell scored 15 points.

The Bulldogs also got six points from Taylor Howlett and two apiece from Cooper, Frankie Bignell and Darby Schey.

Coverdell tossed in 12 of her team-leading 17 points in the second half. Dembek was the only Oredigger in double figures.

Monica Landdeck scored eight points for Tech, while Bailey Armbruster scored seven, Shay Potter netted six, Rachel Farris scored four and Kaylynn Coverdell scored two. Kimi Heng and Callee Remsen also contributed for the Orediggers, who fell to 10-11 overall and 4-6 in the Frontier Conference.

The Bulldogs (17-3, 6-3) play at No. 2 Lewis-Clark State on Saturday. Tech will be home taking on Rocky Mountain College.