Shaye Murphy apparently wasn’t about to let Friday night’s game be her last at the HPER Complex.
The senior forward from Riverton, Utah, caught fire in the second half to lift the Montana Tech women’s basketball team to a 61-54 win over Dickinson State that guaranteed the Orediggers a Frontier Conference playoff game on their home court.
“That is a big motivator,” Murphy said of playing one more game at home. “That is really exciting, and that is going to be huge for us.”
The Orediggers (9-5 in conference, 16-10 overall) wrapped up a playoff spot with a win over Rocky Mountain College Thursday night. The home game in the post season was very much in doubt much of Friday night for a team that closes the regular season at Montana Western and Westminster College next week.
The Orediggers trailed 40-34 after Jaylyn Klauzer hit a jumper with 10 minutes, 59 seconds left in the game. Murphy had no points at the time.
Then, Murphy hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game. Lisa Laslovich hit a 3-pointer the next time down the court to give the Orediggers the lead for good at 43-40.
When the dust had settled, the Orediggers scored 19 straight points and led 53-40 after Murphy capped the run with another 3-pointer.
Murphy scored 11 of the 19 points in the run. The officials ruled her other jumper came with her foot on the 3-point line.
“Shaye and Lisa changed the game,” Tech coach Kerie DePell said. “It changed all of our energy, all of our negativity as we were missing shots. It just changed everything.”
Murphy explained the run with one word: energy.
“I think it was seriously just the energy,” she said. “I just went out there and thought something’s got to happen, and I just decided to start shooting and fired up. We started firing it up and everybody got confidence and just started hitting.”
Murphy was one of three Orediggers to score in double figures.
Sophomore Mandy Machinal scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first half to help keep the Orediggers within striking distance. Dannii Devenny, Thursday’s hero, scored 12 points.
Senior Erika Jenkins scored five points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Laslovich scored five, senior Ivana Lacmanovic scored three and Brynne Kambich scored two. Brooke Pokorny and Laini Kalumbi also played for the Orediggers.
“It was all about our team work,” Murphy said. “Everybody contributed.”
Janae Moore scored 15 points and grabbed 11 boards to pace the Blue Hawks, who fell to 2-10 and 7-19. She scored just three points in the second half.
DePell said Laslovich was the key to that defensive effort.
“Lisa was our spark plug,” the coach said. “She’s all about defense, and energy, and competitiveness and just getting after it. I think that rubbed off on everybody else.”
The Orediggers were again playing without injured center Kelsey DeWit for the fourth straight game. DePell is hopeful she’ll return next week for the road trip, but says surgery to her injured ankle is a possibility.
The coach said she’s pleased with the rest of the team while DeWit is sidelined.
“Everybody has played well,” DePell said. “We’re going to have to look at game film and figure out who we want to start. We have probably eight or nine who deserve to start.”