Rocky brings Western women’s season to a close

DILLON — The University of Montana Western’s women’s basketball season came to an abrupt close as they will not qualify for the Frontier Conference tournament after a 76-61 loss to the Battlin’ Bears from Rocky Mountain College. Stats

Montana Western (13-17 overall, 3-15 Frontier) kept the game close throughout the first three quarters as they were tied at 18 at the end of one, only trailed 38-31 at the intermission and outscored Rocky (15-14, 7-10) 22-20 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to just five points heading into the final frame – 58-53.

The Battlin’ Bears opened the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 16 point lead at 73-57 with just 4:28 to play in the game, the run closed the door on the Bulldogs season and on seniors Sierra Higheagle and McCall Hasquet’s careers.

A trio of Bulldogs scored in double-digits to pace the offensive attack – Aniese Palmore led the way with 12 as Britt Cooper and Higheagle each scored 10.

Hasquet scored six points despite playing most of the game in foul trouble, and fouled out halfway into the fourth quarter.

Palmore also finished with a team-high six assists and brought down six rebounds.

Cooper added in six rebounds, two blocks and two steals for a balanced game for the freshman.

In her final game, Higheagle had four rebounds, two steals and one block to go with her double-digit scoring attack.

Four Battlin’ Bears reached double-figures – Whitney Mitchell (21), Bridger Rice (18), Justyn Juhl (16) and Tenika Capouch (10) – as Rocky shot 48 percent (25-52) from the floor, including 47 percent (7-15) from three-point territory.

Despite winning the battle of the boards – 39-29 – Montana Western was unable to overcome 18 turnovers and a 19-25 free throw performance from Rocky.

The loss dropped Montana Western out of contention for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Frontier Conference, after starting the season 9-0, the ‘Dawgs struggled in conference play as they frequently faced teams in the top-25, including five losses to teams ranked in the top-10 in the NAIA.

— Montana Western Sports Information

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