By Bruce Sayler
The Montana Tech women came at Dickinson State’s in waves Saturday.
As a result of the depth and a tsunami of points to start the second half, the Orediggers were able to wave goodbye to the Blackhawks, beating them 73-52 in a non-conference college basketball game at the Montana Tech HPER Complex. (Stats)
Fifteen players rotated through the court time for the Orediggers and four of them scored in double figures.
“I thought we played more aggressive basketball in the second half,” Montana Tech head coach Carly Sanon said, pointing to a 9-1 run growing into a 15-8 spree right after halftime as being the key span of time in the game. “We talked about that all week – being relentless on offense and on defense. I thought we did that in getting up and down the floor.”
Sanon said the point was emphasized at halftime with the reminder that the team benefits from a deep roster.
“Getting up and down the floor, I thought, is what swung the game for us,” she said. “And, I trust our bench. We got a big lift our bench today. If we’re going to play up-and-down (faster paced) we’ll have to rely on the bench (so starters can catch their breaths). We have a lot of good players on our bench, ones who could start.”
Montana Tech held a 36-30 lead at halftime over winless Dickinson State, mostly because of a 9-0 surge in the later stages of the second quarter wiping out a 26-24 deficit. Brooke Heggie’s three-point play off a pass from Tavia Rooney sent the Orediggers ahead, 27-26 with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left before intermission.
Rooney then burned the Blue Hawks for three straight baskets on a steal-and-layup, an assist from Madison Allen for a bunny, and on hook shot from a baseline drive. The burst made Montana Tech’s lead 33-26 and Dickinson State never caught the Orediggers.
Dani Urick’s rebound basket for the first points of the second half gave Montana Tech a 38-30 span. Courtney Olson hit a free throw for the Blue Hawks, then the Orediggers burned the opponents for the 7-0 getaway. Mollie Peoples fed Rooney for a basket, Urick sank two foul shots and Allen canned a 3-point shot.
The teams traded surges to Montana Tech’s 58-44 command through three quarters.
“I thought, McKayla Kloker, Soda Rice, Jaden Comings and ‘Mia’ (Celestine) Faletoi gave us a big lift when they came off the bench today,” Sanon said.
The efforts were balanced. Rooney and Kloker scored 11 points each to front the victory, while Allen and Urick each tallied 10. Kloker, a freshman from Helena, shot 3-for-4 from 3-point land.
Dickinson State’s Lauren Baumberger knocked down a layin off a pass from Ashlie Watts at the start of the fourth quarter before the Orediggers took off on another 7-0 run. Peoples started it with a 3-pointer after a pass from Megan Delaney. Urick hooped two charity tosses and Delaney finished the run with a 15-foot jumper set up by Aubrie Rademacher’s pass.
The outburst put the Oredigger lead at 65-46 with 7 minutes left. The Blue Hawks languished 15 or more points behind the rest of the way.
Faletoi finished with eight points and five rebounds, Heggie, Comings and Rice each scored five points, Peoples scored three, Delaney and Shelby Paulson each notched two points and Ally Cleverly scored one. Rooney pulled down seven rebounds as Montana Tech outboarded Dickinson State 39-27. Heggie had six rebounds and Rademacher joined Faletoi with five. Peoples and Urick each dished three assists. Rooney blocked three shots and also came up with three steals. Macy Mayer and Kia Wasson also played some minutes for Montana Tech.
The Blue Hawks’ Olson netted 16 points to lead all scorers. Lindsay Peterson came off the bench to score 10. Baumberger grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Watts had three assists and two steals to lead the Dickinson State floor game.
The Orediggers finished the pre-conference season with a 6-4 record and will next play on Thursday, opening Frontier Conference competition at home against Montana Western. The Blue Hawks are 0-10 after the Saturday loss.
“I think we’re where we want to be in our team progression,” Sanon said. “We wanted to play a lot of players in the preseason to get into our rotations. I think we’re ready.”
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