Westminster women deny Orediggers

There was no Cinderella story Saturday night at the HPER Complex.

The mighty Westminster Griffins were as good as advertised, and the No. 3 team in the country beat Montana Tech 79-58 in a Frontier Conference women’s basketball game. Stats

With Great Falls beating Rocky Mountain College 87-75, the Orediggers were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, which came on the final night of the regular season.

The Orediggers, though, went down fighting.

Kabri Emerson scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead a feisty Oredigger squad. The Butte High graduate hit four 3-pointers, including back-to-back treys to pull the Orediggers to within 48-43 with 13:19 left in the game.

The second Emerson three forced the Griffins to call timeout and the Orediggers mobbed Emerson as she went to the bench.

That was as close as the Orediggers came, though, and the Griffins flexed their muscle down the stretch.

“They’re too good of a team,” Tech interim coach Lindsie Wilson said. “They’re not going to give you many opportunities, so you’ve got to capitalize when they give you opportunities. There was a couple that we didn’t capitalize on.”

The Griffins never missed many opportunities, either.

Westminster hit on 59 percent of its shots in the second half to improve to 22-2 overall and complete the Frontier Conference season at 16-0.

Alli Blake led the way for the Griffins with 21 points. Shelby Ellsworth scored 20, and Tia Pappas tossed in 13.

Playing in her last game as an Oredigger, Kelsey DeWit scored 12 points. Junior Mandy Machinal netted 10.

Tech also got seven points from Hattie Thatcher, four from Martha Dembek, three from Rachel Ferris and two from Bryn Hasquet and Sophia Baetz.

Hasquet, a senior, also closed her Oredigger career on Saturday.

The Orediggers looked like they were going to send their seniors off in storybook fashion.

Tech scored the first five points of the game, and the Orediggers led much of the first half.

Tech’s last lead was 30-28 after Thatcher hit a 3-pointer with 3:49 left in the first half.

Westminster, though, closed out the half with six straight points to take a 34-30 advantage at the break.

“They played really hard, they came together as a team,” Wilson said. “I couldn’t have asked them to play any better coming into this game. To give themselves a chance to win was awesome.”

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