UMW News BureauThe Bulldogs' Sammi Bignell was named the Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year and was also chosen as a First Team All-Conference selection. By Brett Morehouse [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="258" caption="Sammi Bignell."][/caption] One thing was certain about the Montana Western women’s basketball team going into the 2010-2011 season: youth was going to be served. Head coach Cara Cocchiarella built a roster featuring just two upperclassmen surrounded by a collection of talented freshmen and sophomores. “We knew we were going to be young,” commented Cocchiarella, “but our sophomores had played quite a bit from the year before and two of our freshmen were coming of redshirt seasons. Our only true freshman on the roster was Sammi Bignell.” Bignell certainly did deliver for the Bulldogs. The Helena Capital High graduate was recently named the Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year and was also chosen as a First Team All-Conference selection. Despite the fact that Sammi Bignell had been one of the Bulldogs’ top recruits out of high school, Cocchiarella said it was difficult to predict just how much she would contribute to the team only one year removed from her prep career. It did not take long, however, for Bulldog fans to see that Bignell would have an immediate impact on the program. Nor did it take long for the rest of the Frontier Conference to see Bignell would be a force to be reckoned with. Cocchiarella and others in the Bulldog program described Bignell’s season as one of the best seasons ever completed by a freshman at Montana Western. “Sammi's ability to make plays on the court played a huge role in the success of our team this year,” Cocchiarella added. “We are all excited to see where she will go from here. She still has a ton of potential.” Bignell’s ability to make plays is evident in her statistical output. She led her team in total points scored (376), field goals made (152) and field goals attempted (329). The 5’10” guard was second on the team in scoring average (13.9 ppg), three-pointers made (28) and steals (29) and third on the Bulldog roster in rebounds (128). In Frontier Conference action, Bignell led the league in field goals made (92) and was fourth in scoring average (16.64). Despite all of this success, however, Cocchiarella said Bignell remained humble. “Sammi is an amazing kid,” Cocchiarella said. “She's obviously very talented, but she also has a great work ethic. She is a perfect example of what everyone looks for in a team member. Sammi has a great time with her teammates and they absolutely love having her around. We are very lucky to have her here.”
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.