Skylights defeat Bulldogs in conference opener

UMW News Bureau

The Montana State University-Northern Skylights edged the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 67-63 in a Frontier Conference tournament quarter-final women’s basketball game at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre, Mont. on Wednesday night. By Lowell Peterson The Montana State University-Northern Skylights edged the University of Montana Western Bulldogs 67-63 in a Frontier Conference tournament quarter-final women’s basketball game at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre, Mont. on Wednesday night. Kylee Denham opened the scoring for Northern before Nicole Tams and Hayley Pettit answered with a pair of baskets to give Montana Western the lead. The Bulldogs held the lead for the next 10 minutes and increased the margin to six points at 23-17 on a basket by Alecia Wilson with 8:07 to play. The Skylights got a basket from Laci Keller and five more points from Laramie Schwenke to go on top 24-23 for the first time since the game’s opening basket. A Jordan Bruuresma field goal gave the Skylights their largest lead of five points with six minutes left in the first half. Montana Western’s Brittney Leibenguth scored to tie things up at 29-all and Northern scored the next four points to retake the lead. Jenna Banks hit a three-pointer and Roxy Thurman followed with a basket and two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 36-33 halftime lead. With 17:14 to play in the game Nikki Tresch’s three-pointer tied the game 40-40. Denham scored to give the Skylights a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Keller scored with just over nine minutes left to give Northern their largest lead of the game 56-47. The Bulldogs kept battling and cut the Skylights’ lead to two points when Sammi Bignell dropped in a three-point shot with 1:35 on the clock. Northern missed the front end of a bonus free throw and Montana Western missed seven field goal attempts in the last minute-and-a-half. Schwenke made two free throws with three seconds left to account for the game’s final two points. Bignell and Thurman led the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points apiece. Tams ended her college career with 10 points. Wilson scored nine points and Pettit finished with eight points and 13 rebounds. As a team, Montana Western shot .344 (22-64) from the field, .400 (6-15) on three-pointers and .765 (13-17) from the free throw line. Schwenke led the Skylights with 20 points and seven rebounds. Bruuresma added 15 points and seven rebounds and Denham finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Northern was .540 (27-50) from the field, .462 (6-13) from beyond the three-point line and .778 (7-9) on free throws. Montana Western ended their season with a 15-13 record. Montana State University-Northern improved to 21-8. The third-seeded Skylights face second-seeded Lewis-Clark State in the playoff semifinals on Saturday evening in Lewiston, Idaho. Lewis-Clark advanced to the semifinals with a 63-51 victory over Montana Tech.