Kansas City, Mo. -The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the 2016-17 Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball All-America Teams on Thursday. Four Bulldogs recieved the Honor: Dom Robinson, Shyke Smalls, Aniese Palmore, and Kaye Bignell. (read more)
By Eric Montgomery, NAIA Media CoordinatorKANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Box Score) No. 1-seeded Dalton State (Ga.) controlled play in the paint and claimed a 79-60 win in the second round of the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The Roadrunners advance to the quarterfinal round and will play third-seeded Texas Wesleyan, a 77-75 winner over The Master’s (Calif.), on Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., CST. (read more)
Billings, Mont. - The Montana Western Bulldogs (24-9) lost their second round game of the NAIA Women’s Division 1 National Tournament to Oklahoma City University (31-2) 81-79 as the Stars hit a 16 foot jumper at the buzzer Friday morning. (read more)
By Andy Pulverenti | NAIA Media ServicesKANSAS CITY, Mo. – No. 4 seed Montana Western led throughout much of the game, but had to hold off a late rally from No. 5 seed LSU Shreveport (La.), to win the final first round contest at the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Mo. Montana Western will play No. 1 seed Dalton State (Ga.) in the Liston Bracket Friday at 9:15 p.m. CST in the NAIA National Championship Second Round. (read more)
Billings Mont. – Playing in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in 10 years the Montana Western Bulldogs (24-8) rallied for a 63-53 victory over Columbia (Mo.) (26-7) in the opening round of the tournament. (read more)
Kansas City, Mo. - The NAIA has released the bracket for both Division 1 men's and women's basketball national tournament. Both men's and women's teams at Western have advanced. (read more)
Dillon, Mont., Mar. 8, 2017— Frontier Conference Commissioner Kent Paulson announced the 2016-17 All-Conference Men’s Basketball team, as well as individual award winners today after balloting by the league’s coaches. Dom Robinson, Shyke Smalls, Kooper Kidgell, Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, and head coach Steve Keller were recognized. (read more)
WHITEFISH, Mont., Mar. 7, 2017 — Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson announced the 2016-17 Women’s All-Conference Basketball teams, that included Aniese Palmore, Kaye Bignell and Britt Cooper. Head coach Lindsay Woolley was named Co-Coach of the Year. (read more)
Dillon, Mont.- The No. 10 Montana Western Bulldogs (24-7, 14-4) Lost a heart breaker Saturday night at the Straugh Gymnasium. Falling to Lewis-Clark State College (23-9, 11-7) 101-95 in overtime of the Frontier Conference semi-finals. (read more)
Four Bulldogs Named NAIA All-Americans
On the men's side, junior Dom Robinson was a second team All-American Selection. And senior Shyke Smalls was a third team All-American Selection.
Dom Robinson, a 5-8 guard from Tacoma, Wash. was named Frontier Conference Newcomer of the Year, as well as being a First-Team All-Conference selection. Robinson averages 17 points a game, tied for third in the conference,and scored 561 total points. He led the conference in three-pointers made with 96 (sixth in the NAIA), three-pointers made per game averaging 2.90 (ninth in the NAIA), assists with 149 (12th in the NAIA), and assists per game averaging 4.52. He also scored a conference high 39 points in a single game.
Shyke Smalls, a 6-1 guard from Great Falls, Mont. was named to the Frontier Conference First-Team. Smalls scored 470 points on the season, and averaged 15.2 points per game. He led the conference in steals averaging 2.24 a game, and is ranked fourth in the NAIA with 74. This season Smalls scored a career high 34 points in a come from behind victory over rival Carroll College, and finished his career with 1285 points. Smalls was named Frontier Conference Player of the Week three times this season and NAIA National Player of the Week in December. Last season Smalls was an All-American honorable mention.
The Bulldogs have had 11 All-Americans since the 2009-10 season; JaRon Brown (2009-10), Brandon Brown (2010-11 & 2011-12), Kyle Erickson (2011-12), Jake Owsley (2012-13), Stephen McCall (2014-15), Dexter Williams Jr. (2014-15 & 2015-16), Shyke Smalls (2015-16 & 2016-17), and Dom Robinson (2016-17).
For the complete men's team click here.
On the Women's side, senior Aniese Palmore was a second team All-American, and senior Kaye Bignell was an All-American Honorable Mention.
Senior point guard Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) was named to the First-Team of the Frontier Conference, and the second team of the NAIA All-championship team. Palmore averaged 15.39 points a game this season leading the team with 508 points. She had 149 rebounds, 104 assists, and 46 steals. Palmore was ninth in the NAIA for free throw percentage (84.3 percent) and 20th for assist to turnover ratio (2.00). Palmore was named All-American Honorable Mention last season.
Senior forward Kaye Bignell (Avon, Mont.) All-American Honorable mention was also named to the All-Conference Second-Team. Bignell scored a career high 441 points, and averaging 13.4 a game. She had 190 rebounds and 44 steals. Bignell was 16th in the NAIA for shooting percentage (52.1 percent).
The Lady Bulldogs have had three All-Americans since the 2012-13 season; Sammi Bignell (2012-13), Aniese Palmore (2015-16 & 2016-17), and Kaye Bignell (2016-17).
For the complete women's team click here.
Bulldogs fall to Dalton State
Reed Dungan led all scorers with 19 points for Dalton State, while Carnilious Simmons posted 17 points and a game-best 19 rebounds. Sayvon Wilson chipped in with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Isaiah Box tallied 11 points and six rebounds.
“I thought the difference in the game was the kids were willing to do what needed to be done to win the game,” said Dalton State head coach Tony Ingle. “We ran a 1-3-1 half-court defense the majority of the night. We’ve maybe ran that defense two minutes total in four years. It was the best defense we needed to win the game.”
Dalton State (29-4) dominated play inside on both ends of the floor, posting a 52-30 rebounding advantage that included a 16-6 discrepancy on the offensive end. The Roadrunners turned those rebounds into 17 second chance points, contributing to a total of 50 points in the paint to 28 for the Bulldogs.
The Roadrunners led nearly wire to wire, falling behind by just a single point on two occasions in the opening minutes of the game. Wilson erased the last of the two deficits with six points of an 8-0 spurt that pushed Dalton State in front, 21-14, at the 10:46 mark of the first half.
The closest Montana Western edged toward the lead came late in the first half when Chase Haack hit a three-pointer, followed by buckets from Shyke Smalls and Kooper Kidgell to tie the game at 31-31. However, Dalton State answered with nine-straight points to finish the half, the last five coming from Dungan.
Defense was the catalyst in the second half for the Roadrunners, holding the Bulldogs to 9 of 31 (.290) shooting that included a 14.3 percent mark (2 of 14) from three-point range. Though both teams recorded just seven turnovers apiece, Montana Western finished the game 4 of 27 (.148) from beyond the arc.
“You can’t win if you don’t rebound,” said Montana Western head coach Steve Keller. “We didn’t make enough shots and they outworked us. We still had a great season and I didn’t expect this team to go 25-8.”
Smalls paced Montana Western with 12 points, while Kidgell, Haack and Marcus Payne each finished with 10 points. Dom Robinson chipped in with eight points and four assists, while Zaccheus Darko-Kelly led the effort on the glass with six rebounds.
Dalton State – In just their second appearance at the national championship, the Roadrunners of Dalton State are now 7-0 all-time at the event … In the first appearance for the Roadrunners, they won a national title over Westmont (Calif.) … In the NAIA, Dalton State ranks No. 3 in steals per game (9.9) and total steals (319) … Carnilious Simmons ranks No. 2 individually in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) as well as No. 3in total rebounds (323) and No. 5 in total rebounds per game (10.1) … Reed Dungan earned 19 points – this mark led all scorers in the game … From the field the Roadrunners went 31-71 for just 43 percent … The matchup in the quarterfinals against Texas Wesleyan will be the first meeting between the two this season.
Montana Western – With the loss, the Bulldogs of Montana Western now fall to 8-14 all-time in the national championship after completing their 14th appearance in program history … Last season, Montana Western was knocked out in the first round to William Penn (Iowa) … Out of the Frontier Conference, the Bulldogs rank No. 4 in the NAIA in scoring offense per game (88.2) and No. 5 in total scoring (2,823) … The 60 points scored tonight were well-below their season average … Four Bulldogs earned double-digits led by Shyke Smalls with a team-high 12 points … The Bulldogs were held to just 14 percent from the 3-point line while only connecting on four.
By Eric Montgomery, NAIA Media Coordinator
Lady Bulldogs Fall in the Second Round at the Buzzer
The Bulldogs impressive season came to an abrupt end Friday in Billings, as the Stars sunk a 16 foot baseline jumper at the buzzer to keep the Bulldogs from advancing in the national tournament.
The Bulldogs started out hot against Oklahoma City, taking a seven point lead into halftime. Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) was on her game connecting on eight three-pointers and tying a career high 29 points.
Battling foul trouble all game, The Bulldogs recieved a total team effort as their bench got significant playing time, and we able to keep the pressure on the Stars.
Taylor Howlett (Spokane, Wash.) had another great game, scoring 20 points, on 4-6 shooting from downtown. (Box Score)
With the Bulldogs leading in the fourth quarter, the Stars were able take advantage of the foul trouble and chipped away at the lead. The Bulldogs were able to tie the game with seven seconds left, but the stars had just enough time as they were able to set a play and sink the winner.
· The Bulldogs, who were picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason, finished the season with their best record in 10 years, finished a game out of second in the conference and almost advanced into the quarterfinals of the national tournament.
· Kaye Bignell joined the 1000 points club with her 13 points in the game. She scored 76 points in her one season at Carroll College and 934 in three season at Western for a total of 1,010 points.
Bulldogs Beat LSU-Shreveport, Advance to Second Round
No. 4 seed Montana Western led throughout much of the game, but had to hold off a late rally from No. 5 seed LSU Shreveport (La.), to win the final first round contest at the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Mo. Montana Western will play No. 1 seed Dalton State (Ga.) in the Liston Bracket Friday at 9:15 p.m. CST in the NAIA National Championship Second Round.
“We shot really well in the first half, which gave us confidence,” said Montana Western Head Coach Steve Keller. “Dom Robinson got the team going early on, and put on a great effort. The team is playing without worrying about any risk, it’s the way we’ve been playing all season.”
Dom Robinson led the Bulldogs (25-7) with a tournament-high 32 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor. Robinson added seven assists. Shyke Smalls added 25 points and Kooper Kidgell finished with 11 points. (Box Score)
LSU Shreveport took an early lead, putting Montana Western into a 6-4 deficit within the game’s first three minutes of play. The Bulldogs responded and strung together an 8-0 run, capping the stretch with a Zaccheus Darko-Kelly field goal to put Montana Western in front, 12-6 with 16:15 to play in the first half.
The Pilots cut their deficit to 12-9 moments later, but that’ as small as the Bulldog lead would be through the rest of the game. Montana Western’s advantage stretched out to double-digits for the first time at 22-11 after Kooper Kidgell scored two of his 11 points with 12:19 to play before halftime.
Montana Western maintained its lead through the rest of the half, and a field goal from Riley King just before the end of the half put the Bulldogs up 53-37 at the break.
Montana Western gradually added to its lead through the opening nine minutes of the second half. Robinson hit a three-point field goal with just over 11-minutes to play in the contest, extending the advantage to 76-55, the largest lead of the game.
LSU Shreveport worked back into the game, and a three-pointer from Benjamin Batts with 1:34 to play cut the Bulldog lead back to single-digits, and Batts hit a free throw to finish a four-point play, to put the Pilots in a 92-85 deficit. Rashard Owens followed a pair of Montana Western free throw misses with a three-point field goal to cut the Montana Western lead to 92-88 near the one-minute mark. Montana Western pulled away from there, and built another double-digit lead, eventually earning a 99-94 win.
“I’m really proud of the way the guys played throughout the entire game,” said Keller. “Our guards gave a great effort, and we were able to hold our own on the boards.”
Benjamin Batts led the Pilots with 21 points, while Greg Pollins added a career-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Also in double-figures were Josh Walker, with 15 points, and Uzonna Akazi with 13 points. LSU Shreveport scored 18 second-chance points and scored 21 points off 20 Bulldog turnovers.
“We got beat by a really good basketball team today,” said LSU Shreveport Head Coach Kyle Blankenship. “When at the national tournament, you can’t trail by 21 points and expect to come back. I am proud of our guys for cutting it down to single digits. We had a great year and hopefully we learn from this experience, getting back to the tournament again.”
LSU Shreveport finishes its season with a 20-10 record.
Montana Western Notes
Dillon, Montana, home of Montana Western, has the highest elevation of any team’s hometown at the 2017 tournament (5,118 feet)…The Bulldogs scored 53 points in the first half, the most first half points scored by any team so far at this year’s tournament, and the most since Mid-America Christian (Okla.) scored 55 points in the first half in last year’s national semifinal game… Montana Western’s 14 national tournament appearances is the most among program’s from the state of Montana…The Bulldogs are now 7-7 all-time in first round games…Five of those first round wins have come since 2010…The 94 points given up is the most in a win this season for Montana Western…The Bulldogs improve to 6-3 against teams in this year’s national championship field.
Lady Bulldogs Win First NAIA Tournament Game in 10 Years
The Bulldogs used a strong fourth quarter to overcome a 10 point second half deficit to stun Columbia 63-53.
Both teams were locked in a defensive battle for the most of the game. Missed opportunities by the Bulldogs allowed Columbia to take a nine point lead into halftime.
Columbia focused on stopping seniors Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Kaye Bignell (Avon, Mont.), holding the two to a combined 0-17 shooting and one point in the first half. Sophomore Cierra Lamey (Wise River, Mont.) stepped up in the first quarter and senior Taylor Howlett carried the Bulldogs into the fourth quarter. Without the performances from Howlett and Lamey the Bulldogs would not have been in position to make a comeback.
Trailing by seven heading into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs couldn’t find any offensive momentum. Plagued by missed free throws and empty possessions the Bulldogs looked like were not going to overcome the deficit.
But the Bulldogs wore down the Columbia defense and shut down the offense. Outscoring Columbia 25-8 in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset and the comeback with a 10 point victory.
Palmore finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Bignell had a double-double, 11 points 11 rebounds. Howlett scored 13 points. Britt Cooper (Harrison, Mont.) scored 11 points and eight rebounds and Lamey had 10 points and eight rebounds. (Box Score)
The Bulldogs return to action Friday March 17, at 10:45 a.m. when they face two-seed Oklahoma City University in the second round of the tournament.
Men's and Women's Basketball Advance to National Tournament
The 21st ranked Lady Bulldogs will be a 6 seed in the upcoming tournament, and will face the 3 seed and 12th ranked Columbia (Mo.) Cougars. The game is scheduled for Wednesday March 15, at 5:45 p.m. in the Rimrock Auto Center in Billings Mont.
This marks the first time in ten years that the Lady Bulldogs have advanced to the national tournament, and ninth time qualifying overall.
Complete women's bracket HERE
The 13th ranked men's basketball team is a 4 seed in the tournament and will face the 5 seed and 17th ranked LSU-Shreveport. The game is scheduled for Thursday March 16 at 8:15 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
The men's team has qualified for the tournament seven of the last eight years and if making their 14th trip in program history.
Complete men's bracket HERE
The games will be available to watch online HERE. the games cost $9.95 for a day pass, and $29.95 for the whole tournament. Links to the games can be found the webcast schedules page on umwbulldogs.com and on Facebook and Twitter approximately 15 minutes before the start of the game.
Men's Basketball Earns Individual Postseason Awards
In his tenth year on the bench guiding the Bulldogs, head coach Steve Keller just completed his most successful regular season. The Bulldogs went 24-7 (.774 winning percentage) and 14-4 in conference (.778). "The entire Montana Western community is proud of Steve Keller and his recognition as the 2016-17 Frontier Conference Coach of the Year. Steve has made a lasting impact not only on the basketball program at Western, but in countless lives that he has affected." Stated Director of Athletics Russ Richardson, "Coach Keller has the reputation of being 'hard' on the court, but his passion for the game and the kids he coaches has literally changed the lives of the student athletes he serves! This is a very well-deserved honor."
This is the fourth time Keller has been named Frontier Coach of the Year.
Dom Robinson, a 5-8 guard from Tacoma, Wash. was named Frontier Conference Newcomer of the Year, as well as being a First-Team All-Conference selection. Robinson averages 16.8 points a game, tied for third in the conference, scored total points. He led the conference in three-pointers made with 88(ninth in the NAIA), three-pointers made per game averaging 2.84 (tenth in the NAIA), assists with 138 (13th in the NAIA), and assists per game averaging 4.45. He also scored a conference high 39 points in a single game.
Kooper Kidgell is a 6-3 guard from Billings Mont. and was named to the Frontier All-Conference Second-Team. Kidgell had a monster sophomore season. He improved in every statistical category. Kidgell scored 372 points including a career single game high of 23. He averaged 12 points a game and grabbed 114 rebounds, and is second on the team with 71 assists. He has started the last 23 games of the season and played in over 800 minutes.
Zaccheus Darko-Kelly is a 6-4 guard from Missoula, Mont. and was named the Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year.
Darko-Kelly played in all 31 games scoring 282 points averaging 9.1 a game. He shot 55 percent from the floor and 53 percent from beyond the arc. Darko-Kelly pulled down 102 rebounds, and scored a career high 22 points against Great Falls.
For complete all-conference teams and award winners click here.
Three Lady Bulldogs Named to All-Conference Teams
Head coach Lindsay Woolley, in his fifth year leading the Bulldogs, was named Frontier Conference Co-Coach of the Year. This year the Bulldogs won 20 games, had a winning conference record (11-7), and will likely qualify for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in 10 years. Overall the Bulldogs finished with a 23-8 record.
"We are very proud and excited for coach Woolley to receive this honor," stated Director of Athletics Russ Richardson. "He is very deserving of this recognition for his hard work and leadership rebuilding our women's basketball program."
Senior point guard Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) was named to the First-Team of the Frontier Conference.
Palmore averaged 14.9 points a game this season leading the team with 462 points. She had 134 rebounds, 102 assists, and 43 steals. Palmore was eighth in the NAIA for free throw percentage (85 percent) and fifteenth for assist to turnover ratio (2.13).
This season Palmore had a single game and career high 29 points. She was named Player of the Week on Jan. 23. hitting the game winning shot with 0.7 seconds left against rival Carroll College. "Aniese is our leader." according to coach Woolley, "her presence on the floor creates opportunities for teammates."
Last year Palmore was named Frontier Newcomer of the Year and a Second-Team All-Conference selection.
Senior forward Kaye Bignell (Avon, Mont.) was named to the All-Conference Second-Team.
Bignell was a force to be reckoned with this season, scoring a career high 417 points, and averaging 13.5 a game. She had 172 rebounds and 40 steals. Bignell was eleventh in the NAIA for shooting percentage (53.7 percent). This season Bignell scored a career high 29 points in one game and hit the game winning jumper against Carroll College in December.
"Kaye has been a tireless worker since she arrived on our campus 3 years ago. She plays as hard as anyone in our league. This honor recognizes her hard work." stated coach Woolley.
Sophomore Britt Cooper (Harrison, Mont.) was an All-Conference Honorable Mention
Cooper had an impressive sophomore season, improving in every statistical category this season, scoring 271 points, grabbing 209 rebounds, 46 assists and 32 steals. Cooper scored a career high 18 points twice this season, and had three double-doubles including a monster game in December against Rocky Mountain (18 points, 19 rebounds).
"Britt does a little bit of everything whether it’s rebounding, blocking shots or scoring. Her ability to contribute in a variety of areas was a big piece of our success this season" said coach Woolley.
Woolley stated, "I am very proud and honored that I have been able to coach this team. With team success comes individual recognition and I couldn’t be happier for our entire team that has been led by these three outstanding young women."
For the complete all-conference teams and award winners click here.
Bulldogs Can't Hang Onto Late Lead, Fall in Overtime
The Bulldogs held a five point lead with 23 seconds left, when the Warriors hit a three-point shot to cut the lead to two. On the ensuing inbounds attempt the Bulldogs were called for a five-second violation, despite calling for a timeout. The Warriors tied the game on driving layup, and the Bulldogs buzzer beater attempt fell short.
The overtime period went back and forth, before the Warriors pulled away in the final minute to win the game by six, and advance to the conference championship game.
Dom Robinson (Tacoma, Wash.) carried the team, playing all 45 minutes, making a career high 13 shots and scoring a career high 39 points. He also had six rebounds and four assists.
The Warriors shot 55 percent from the field, while the Bulldogs shot just 39 percent, half of the Bulldogs shot attempts were from downtown, but could only connect on 13 of the 40 they shot. They Bulldogs uncharacteristically missed nine free throws, many coming late in the second half.
Shyke Smalls (Great Falls, Mont.) scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Zaccheus Darko-Kelly (Missoula, Mont.) scored 16 and had six rebounds. Kooper Kidgell (Billings, Mont.) scored 12 points. (Box Score)
With the Bulldogs already guaranteed a spot in the NAIA national tournament, the loss isn’t a major blow despite the frustration of blowing a late lead. The Warriors however, were a bubble team and desperately needed a win to qualify for the tournament
The Bulldogs will find out who they play next, when NAIA bracket is released on March 8, at 7 p.m.
Bulldogs Come Up Short Against Northern
The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker against Northern 44-42 in the semi-finals of the Frontier Conference playoffs. The Bulldogs lead for most of the game, but Northern hit a three pointer with 13 seconds left in game and the Bulldogs game tying attempt was too hard of the glass.
The Bulldogs held Northern to just two made free throws during an 11:15 stretch. The Skylights were held without a field goal during the span that stretched from the first through third quarters. But the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage and were only able to build a nine point lead during the Skylights scoring drought.
The Bulldogs struggled to get shots to fall as they only made one three point shot. And shot 36 percent from the field for the game. (Box Score)
The Bulldogs battled foul trouble all game and got a great performance from Alexa Welch (Helena, Mont.) off the bench. Welch played 19 minutes, going 4-5 from the field for eight points, two rebounds and an assist.
Aniese Palmore (Santa Monica, Calif.) led the Bulldogs with 13 points and nine rebounds. Britt Cooper (Harrison, Mont.) scored 12 points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs should advance to NAIA National Tournament, they will find out their playoff fate on Wednesday March 8 at 6 p.m.