DILLON — The University of Montana Western went to Salt Lake City, Utah for a tournament hosted by Westminister College. The team played three games in three days with the first game starting on Thursday, Nov. 8 against the 12th ranked BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) Eagles.
The Bulldogs beat BIOLA in a barn burner, 57-58. The Eagles had the ball under the Bulldogs’ basket, with about 5 seconds left to go in the game. The Eagles threw the ball long to their leading scorer Adijat Adams, who had a fairly wide open lane to their basket. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Adams bobbled the ball, which gave senior Alecia Wilson enough time to catch up and contest the last second shot.
The Bulldogs were lead by junior Sammi Bignell, who ended the night with 14 points, five assists, two steals and three rebounds. Both Alecia Wilson and Kaci Matthies added eight points to the team total. Matthies also ended with five rebounds on the night. Wilson added six assists, four rebounds and four steals to the stats sheet. Roxy Thurmmann, Kassie Kerbs and Brittney Leibenguth all chipped in seven points to help the Bulldogs to the win. Thurman also ended the night with six rebounds.
Head Coach Lindsay Woolley said he was happy with his team’s effort.
“I’m quite pleased with our defensive effort against a BIOLA team that had a big size advantage over us,” Woolley said. “We scrapped and fought for 40 minutes on the defensive end, which gave us a chance at the end despite not shooting the ball real well.”
On Friday, Nov. 9, the Bulldogs took on the College of Idaho Coyotes. A bad shooting night lead to the Bulldogs defeat 49-68. The Bulldogs were only 1-16 from the three point line on the night (6 percent), only shot 34 percent from the field and scored 16 total points in the second half. The College of Idaho did not have the same bad shooting night; the Coyotes were 49 percent from the field, shooting 35 percent from the three-point arc, which helped them to their win.
Sammi Bignell lead the way for the Bulldogs again with 16 points and three steals. Kaci Matthies added 10 points to the team total along with four rebounds. Alecia Wilson flirted with a triple-double as she had nine points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
“This game was definitely a tale of two halves,” Woolley explained. “In the first half, we moved the ball well and we were doing a good job cutting away from the ball. In the second half, we spent the majority of our time standing around and we didn’t do a very good job finding the open person.”
The last game of the tournament was against the nationally ranked Masters College Mustangs. The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to the Mustangs 69-66.
Montana Western was ahead by one point with about 20 seconds left to go. The Masters’ Lena Rivera drove baseline, pulled up and hit a tough shot off of the glass to put the Masters back up by one. With 15 seconds left, Woolley called a time out, and drew up a last-second play. The Bulldogs ended up getting trapped by the Masters, and turning the ball over, so the Bulldogs had to foul in an attempt to get the ball back. The Mustangs made both of their free throws, putting them up by three. In a last-ditch effort, the Bulldogs tried to throw it long and tip it to a shooter, but the pass was just off and ended up going to the Masters. Despite the loss, the Bulldogs out shot the Mustangs 44 to 36 percent. However, it was the three point percentage that was the deciding factor in the game. The Mustangs were 10-35 from the three (28.6 percent) while the Bulldogs were only 3-13 from the three (23 percent).
Almost everyone on the Bulldogs team contributed in this game. Junior Roxy Thurman had a great game for the Bulldogs as she ended the night as the leading scorer with 16 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Alecia Wilson added 12 points to the team total and had five assists, five rebounds and two steals. Kaci Matthies had 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with her three assists. Sammi Bignell ended the night with 10 points and had a huge night on the boards as she ended with 12 rebounds. Kassie Kerbs chipped in nine points while Brittney Leibenguth and Kelsey Callaghan added five and three points, respectively.
“We bounced back with a great effort against the Master’s,” Woolley stated. “It was nice to see us play our most complete game of the weekend against the best team we faced.”
— UM Western Sports Information