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UMW women’s basketball hosts first round tournament game

The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team finished the regular season in fourth place in the Frontier Conference. The Bulldogs had an 8-8 conference record, one game better than Great Falls who finished fifth. Great Falls comes to Dillon on Saturday, March 1, to take on Montana Western.

BenchThe Montana Western women finished the season with an overall record of 14-12 and an even 8-8 conference record. The women catapulted up the conference standings with a six game win streak over a three week stretch. The Bulldogs are led by senior Sammi Bignell who is averaging 15.6 points a game, over seven rebounds, and almost two steals a game. Jenna Banks leads the team in assists averaging close to three a game. Banks has the ability to score as well finishing the season scoring in double figures in six of the last seven games, with a season high of 19 points and scored 18 twice this season.

The Argos finished the season 17-12 and 7-9 in the Frontier Conference. Great Falls finished in fifth in the conference via tie breakers. UGF has won five of their last six games and three in a row to finish the season and make the tournament. The Argos were responsible for snapping the Bulldogs six game win streak back on Feb. 15. Great Falls is led by Erin Legel who is averaging 18.5 points and six assists a game. Lindsay Abramson is pulling down 11.6 rebounds a game.

MelodyUMW's Melody McCloudThe two teams split the regular season, each winning on the others’ home court. On Jan. 25 the Bulldogs went to Great Falls and came out 80-59 winners. The Montana Western women had five players score in double digits, led by Melody McCloud’s season high 16 points. Kaci Matthies added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Bulldogs went 31-for-37 from the free-throw line for 84% and outrebounded the UGF team 52 to 29. In the second contest the Argos came to Dillon on Feb. 15 and won 83-63. Great Falls had all five starters score in double figures led by Lindsay Abramson and Taylor Statton who each had 16 points. The bench for UGF scored only nine points on Jenna-DribbleMontana Western guard Jenna Banksthe night. The UMW women were led by Sammi Bignell who had 18 points and seven rebounds. Roxy Thurman added 13 points. The Bulldogs were outrebounded that game and were held to 35% shooting from the field.

“It’s a one game season and we have a week to prepare. UGF is a very talented team and has a lot of firepower on the offensive end,” said Bulldog head coach Lindsay Woolley. “The biggest key to the game is going to be on the glass and at the free throw line. We have got to find a way to limit their second chance scoring while playing defense without fouling. They attack the basket aggressively and really work hard to get to the free throw line. I am confident we will put up a better showing then we did a couple weeks ago on senior night.”

The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, in Straugh Gymnasium. The winner will advance to next weeks’ semifinals and the loser will go home. The game can be seen via Montana Western webcast at http://www.livestream.com/westernbulldogs.