Western women roll to win in tournament opener

Western women roll to win in tournament opener
Montana Western’s Darby Schey and Dickinson State’s Karen Hopkins dive for the ball Friday afternoon at the Montana Tech HPER Complex. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Montana Western was stuck in a blizzard on Wednesday night, then caused one to mire Dickinson State on Friday.

The Bulldogs snowed Dickinson State 78-47 in an afternoon women’s game at the Montana Tech Tip-Off college basketball tournament in the HPER Complex.

Western scored the first seven points of the contest on the way to a 16-3 bulge in the first five minutes. Looking back never had to be an option. The Bulldogs continued to storm,

“I thought we were playing well early,” Lindsay Woolley, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “We got a great start and I was happy with what we were doing, defensively.”

The defense was tight and combined with guard Brianna King’s big game — 22 points, 2 assists, 2 steals — to bring the win.

“I thought we played good defense in spurts,” Woolley said. “We’ve been talking about it the last couple of games, about how we’ve been having highs and lows in our play. You can’t have everything you want all the time, but you do look for consistency.

“They scored (13) points in the first 2-4 minutes of the second quarter and that irritated me.”

The Western lead was 28-9 after the first period. Even though, the Blue Hawks found the range for points in the second, the Bulldogs still matched them and controlled the margin. It was a 37-20 game with six minutes left in the half after baskets by Britt Cooper and King for Western, and by Dickinson State’s Jennifer Burnham and Isidora Tasovic.

Tasovic came off the bench to spark her team with 10 second-frame points.

The Bulldogs closed the half with a flurry, owning a 46-23 command at intermission as Cierra Lamey converted a three-point play, and King tallied three points on a free throw and short pull-up jumper. King spiced her half with 20 points.

“It was good for her to hit a couple of  3s early,” Woolley said, saying the point guard had struggled on offense the first two games of the campaign.

As ready as the Bulldogs looked for the Blue Hawks, Woolley said the only scouting conducted was by watching video.

“We got stranded in Livingston Wednesday night (because of bad weather) on our way back from MSU (Montana State-Billings) and so I didn’t think we were prepared very well coming into this game,” Woolley said. “But, when we subbed, it didn’t feel like we lost anything. The bench did a really nice job.

“I think we have a lot of depth. I feel confident with all our our kids, so it depends on matchups and who is doing well on a given night (as to who will be playing).”

The Bulldogs outscored Dickinson State 11-2 to start the second half as Cooper, the Harrison product, tallied seven points in a row in the Bulldogs’ 11-0 run. They took a 59-33 command into the fourth frame.

About midway through the last quarter, Western reeled off seven unanswered points for a 76-37 advantage and about all was left was for the reserves to play out the last ticks.

Cooper finished wiht nine points and six rebounds. The Bulldogs dominated the boards by a 43-30 margin with Darby Schye and Theresa Mac-Dangosu both pulling down seven caroms.

Tasovic scored 14 points to lead Dickinson State. Burnham finished with 12. The Blue Hawks are 2-4 this season.

Montana Western raised its record to 2-1 with the win and will play Nueta Hidatda of New Town, North Dakota, Saturday at 9 a.m. in Montana Tech’s HPER Complex.



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