Oredigger women coast in season-opening win

Oredigger women coast in season-opening win
Montana Tech's Jaime Berg goes up for a hoop in front of Yellowstone Christian's Isabell Erickson (5) and Paige Gregory Thursday at the HPER Complex. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

The 2018-19 women’s basketball season couldn’t have started much better for the Montana Tech Orediggers.

In a late afternoon game at the HPER Complex, the Orediggers scored the first 19 points and coasted to an 86-55 non-conference victory over Yellowstone Christian College. (Stats)

The season also couldn’t have started much better for Montana Tech junior post player Shay Potter.

The 6-foot-2 Murray, Idaho, native, posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Orediggers in double figures scoring.

Potter also made her first collegiate 3-pointer, sinking a fourth-quarter shot from the top of the key.

“I think I took two last year, and one of them was a buzzer-beater that I tried to make,” Potter said. “This is the first one that I made, so it’s a good junior season for me.”

The Orediggers are focusing on using their post players to bury deeper shots this season.

“Last year people just kind of packed it in on us,” fifth-year Tech head coach Carly Sanon said. “So, with that high-low stuff we’ve been really working on outside shooting. Actually, Kaylee (Zard) is the best 3-point shooter of the posts, and she didn’t shoot one tonight. We were working on those shots, so it was good to see her hit that.”

Tech used 11 players in the game, and 10 of the scored at least for points.

Sophomores Mesa Williams and Mollie Peoples each scored 12 points, while freshmen Dani Urick and Chelestina Faletoi each tossed in 11.

Sannon pointed out that Zard, a junior, added eight points and eight rebounds.

“Offensively, when we worked the ball around and ran our offense, we looked pretty good,” Sanon said.

The Orediggers led 28-10 after the first quarter and 46-27 at halftime. The lead was 69-39 after three quarters.

“Our first and third quarters were probably our best,” Sanon said. “We came out and did a lot of good things. It’s good to finally play a game and some things we need to improve on. Obviously, defensively there were some breakdowns that we’ve got to get fixed.”

Daruelle Evans’ 14 points paced the Centurions. Karen Orozco scored 14.

Though Tech outrebounded Yellowstone Christian 46-30, Sannon said Tech must do a better job on the offensive side of the glass.

“One thing we’ve got to work on is crashing the ‘O’ boards,” the coach said. “We only got 10 tonight. That was our strength last year.”

Sophomore Hailey Crafword and junior transfer Lana Berg each scored five points in the win. Junior transfer Sharlei Graham-Bernisto and freshman Jaime Berg each scored four. Freshman Megan Delaney also contributed for the Orediggers, who have nine newcomers to the team.

“Those are all players that are going to be able to come in and help us, and I’m excited about them,” Sanon said.

Potter said it was just nice to play against someone other than her teammates for a change.

“It was great to get back out there,” she said. “I definitely miss playing on the court. It’s nice to play against some different people. You’re playing at a very different level when you’re playing against different opponents.”

The Orediggers will host a tournament next Thursday and Friday. They’ll take on Dickinson State and Calumet College of St. Joseph (Indiana). Both games start at 5 p.m.

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