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UMW women win first round thriller

The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team faced the University of Great Falls in the first round of the Frontier Conference tournament on Monday night. The game was originally schedule for Saturday, however, due to weather the game was rescheduled. The Montana Western women overcame a four point halftime deficit to win by two, 63-61.

Jenna-ShotMontana Western's Jenna banks scores in the paintThe UGF Argos came out in the second half and extended their four point lead to a 12 point advantage with 11:55 remaining in the game. Montana Western went on a 19 to six point run to take the lead on a Roxy Thurman free throw with 3:05 remaining. In the final three minutes there were four lead changes and one tie. With the game tied at 61, UMW’s Kaci Matthies was fouled on a defensive rebound with 12 seconds remaining. Matthies converted on both free throw attempts for a two point Bulldog lead. UGF guard Erin Legel missed a three point attempt with two seconds remaining and the UMW women escaped with the win.

Great Falls was led by Erin Legel who scored a game high 24 points (14 first half points), six assists, and was 10-for-11 from the free-throw line. Darah Huertas-Vining scored 14 points in the game, and was a big reason for the half time lead by scoring ten points in the first half. Lindsay Abraham had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Kaci-ReboundUMW's Kaci Matthies grabs one of her 14 reboundsMontana Western had four players score in double digits. The Bulldogs were led by Sammi Bignell’s 21 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Kaci Matthies had a double-double scoring 14 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and going 4-for-5 from line including the two for the Bulldog lead in the closing seconds. Senior Roxy Thurman had 12 points and went 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Jenna Banks was the fourth UMW player in double digits with ten points. Montana Western went 14-for-22 from the line with nine of those made attempts by Thurman and Matthies.

The University of Great Falls finishes the season 17-13. The University of Montana Western (15-12 overall; 9-8 Frontier Conference) will travel to Westminster on Sat. March 8, to take on the No. 1 seed Griffins in the second round of the Frontier Conference tournament.