Oredigger women face No. 4 Griffins tonight in semifinals

The first time the Montana Tech women’s basketball team played Westminster College in Salt Lake City, the Orediggers gave the Griffins all they could handle for 30 minutes.

Tech led by 12 points midway through the second half before the then-No. 4 Griffins scored 17 straight points on their way to 60-44 win.

Tonight, the Orediggers are looking to put 40 minutes together in their return trip to Salt Lake to take on 23-2 Westminster in the semifinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament. Tipoff is at 7, and the game can be heard on KBOW (550 AM, 101.5 FM, kbow550.net) with Paul Panisko and John Thatcher making the call.

Led by Tia Pappas’s 13.4 points and 7 rebounds per game, the Griffins have won 13 straight games. Westminster fell at home to Carroll College in the first game of the conference season, and the Griffins haven’t lost since.

Pappas is one of four Griffins to average in double figures scoring. Amy Krommenhoek scores 12.4 points per game, while Shelby Ellsworth scores 10.6 and Alli Winters averages 10.1.

The Orediggers (12-18) enter the game as winners of four of their last 5 games. Their one loss in that span was last Saturday’s 65-51 home loss to Westminster.

Tech beat Carroll College 52-45 Tuesday in Helena in the first round. Senior Mandy Machinal scored 16 points to lead Tech in that game.

Machinal averages a team-leading 13.7 points per game. Martha Dembek adds 11.2 point to the lineup, while Kayla DeWit averages 11 and double-double machine Kabri Emerson contributes with 9.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Point guard Hattie Thatcher averages 6.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

Great Falls will head to MSU-Northern for the other semifinal game. Westminster College will host the championship game on Monday night.

A Tech victory would sent the Orediggers to Northern or Great Falls.