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Women's basketball picks up two wins to start season

UMW News Bureau

The University of Montana Western women’s basketball team started off on the right foot by beating the University of Lethbridge in two games this weekend, 64-52 and 71-62.

On Friday night, the Bulldogs were lead by junior Sammi Bignell, who nearly had a double-double with 27 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Sophomore Kaci Matthies added 10 rebounds while senior Alecia Wilson had 11 assists and fellow senior Brittney Leibenguth had nine points and five rebounds.

On the heels of his first win as a Bulldog, head coach Linsday Woolley said he was proud of his team’s first showing.

“Defensively, Kelsey Callaghan and Jenna Banks did a pretty good job making their guards uncomfortable, which was a big reason we forced 25 turnovers,” Woolley explained. “Overall, I was pleased with our defensive effort and execution. We struggled at times offensively, but we did a nice job making good decisions in transition and as a group I felt we went to the boards pretty well.”

The Bulldogs out-rebounded Lethbridge 18–4 on the offensive glass, but the Pronghorns out-rebounded the Bulldogs 34-21 on defensive rebounds, which eventually made the totals 39–38 with the slight advantage going to Montana Western.

“We were fortunate to hang with Lethbridge on the glass,” Woolley added. “They played three six-footers the majority of game so we had to play some zone to neutralize their size advantage."

Sammi Bignell was also the leading scorer in Saturday’s game with 26 points. Kaci Matthies again went hard to the boards and ended up with ten rebounds and 12 points while Kassie Kerbs came off the bench to spark the Bulldogs and ended with 15 points.

“Kassie Kerbs gave us a great spark off the bench in the second half,” Woolley said. “She was confident and made a couple huge shots. It was exactly what you expect out of a senior.”

At the end of the two games, Wolley said he was happy with his team’s performance.

“Overall, I was pleased with our effort and thought we played unselfishly on both ends of the floor,” Woolley finished. “These two games were exactly what we needed to start the year. We faced some adversity (in overcoming deficits in both games) and were able to see how we are going to respond in the future. We have a couple weeks to work out some kinks before we face Montana Tech on Oct. 27.”

Montana Western’s junior varsity programs will start this week with games on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 18 at 11 a.m.

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