The NAIA Men’s Basketball Game of the Week lived up to its billing Saturday night in Lewiston, Idaho. In a back and forth contest to determine the Frontier Conference regular season championship, Montana Western suffered an 85-92 loss to Lewis-Clark State. (read more)
Wally Feldt was honored with the 2015 Frontier Conference Service Award at a ceremony between the Montana Western and University of Great Falls basketball games. (read more)
Montana Western senior point guard Stephen McCall was selected Frontier Conference men’s basketball player of the week. (read more)
Between the women's and men's Saturday evening home games, the senior basketball players and cheerleaders will be recognized. The nine basketball players represent 723 games played for the Bulldogs and have written themselves into the UMW record books. (read more)
Bulldogs' season ends with nail biter
The Bulldogs took the lead at the 16-minute mark of the first half on a three pointer by junior Sierra Higheagle. Montana Western held the lead until four minutes remained in the period when Lewis-Clark took a one-point advantage. Senior Taylor Kanthack reclaimed the lead for the Bulldogs in the final minute of the half but the Warriors struck back quickly and held a three-point lead at the intermission. Higheagle led the Montana Western charge with 16 first half points.
Four and a half minutes into the second half the Bulldogs regained a lead on a three pointer by Jenna Banks, her first points of the game. The Warriors were able to regain the advantage just after the ten-minute mark, but the Bulldogs refused to concede the game. Banks’ second bucket of the game gave Montana Western the lead again with less than six minutes to play. The Warriors answered and never trailed again, though the Bulldogs were down just one with seconds left to play. Montana Western sent Lewis-Clark to the foul line where they knocked down the two bonus shots. Banks was able to get off a last second attempt, but the Warriors gathered the rebound as time expired.
Montana Western ends the season at 10-20 overall and fell short of qualifying for the six team Frontier Conference Tournament.
Bulldogs forced to share regular season title
The Bulldog bench was essential in the first half as the game started out at a quick pace. Junior Connor Woodill connected on three treys in the opening period and led the first half scoring with 11 points. Fellow junior Ryan McCarty also found his stride early and chipped in seven points before intermission. Lewis-Clark shot 51 percent from the floor including a 7-15 effort from beyond the arc to establish a three-point lead at the break.
The Warriors maintained a narrow lead through the first seven minutes of the second half before the Bulldogs used solid free throw shooting and another three by Woodill to open up an eight point margin. Lewis-Clark roared back as Montana Western repeatedly sent the Warriors to the charity stripe. The Warriors used the free throws to build a lead in the closing minutes, ending the contest 25-35 from the line.
Woodill finished the contest with 19 points while Dexter Williams Jr. and Stephen McCall each scored 18. McCarty was the final Bulldog in double digits with 11 points.
Montana Western and Lewis-Clark State each finished the regular season 9-5, but the Warriors hold the tiebreaker for seeding in the Frontier Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs now await the results of Wednesday’s first round games. Montana Western will host the highest remaining seed while Lewis-Clark will host the lower seed in Saturday’s semifinal matchups.
2015 Bulldog volleyball scheduled revealedIn addition to 12 Frontier Conference matches, the schedule will take the Bulldogs to tournaments in three states where they will face nationally ranked competition.
“We know that the Frontier Conference is always competitive, so it is important that our preseason slate prepares us well,” Griffiths said. “Getting out of our conference and region to test ourselves against some of the best teams out there will provide a tough challenge, but definitely one for which our girls are ready.”
The 2015 Montana Western volleyball schedule is:
· Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29 at Lewis-Clark State Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho
· Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12 at Hastings College Tournament in Hastings, Neb.
· Friday, Sept. 18 at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
· Thursday, Sept. 24 against University of Great Falls in Dillon, Mont.
· Friday, Sept. 25 at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.
· Thursday, Oct. 1 against Lewis-Clark Sate in Dillon, Mont.
· Saturday, Oct. 3 against MSU-Northern in Dillon, Mont.
· Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10 at Johnson & Wales Tournament in Denver, Colo.
· Friday, Oct. 16 against Carroll College in Dillon, Mont.
· Saturday, Oct. 17 against Montana Tech in Dillon, Mont.
· Thursday, Oct. 22 at Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston, Idaho
· Saturday, Oct. 24 at MSU-Northern in Havre, Mont.
· Saturday, Oct. 31 against Rocky Mountain College in Dillon, Mont.
· Friday, Nov. 6 at University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Mont.
· Saturday, Nov. 7 at Montana Tech in Butte, Mont.
· Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13-14 at Frontier Conference Tournament in Helena, Mont.
Bulldog women fall out of playoff contentionBoth teams started the game hot with the Bulldogs holding an advantage in shooting percentage, but they were outrebounded in the first period. There were 12 lead changes in the first period, and at the intermission the score was tied at 36. Senior Jenna Banks led the first half scoring with 15 points in the half including 3-4 shooting from behind the arc.
The game stayed tight until an Oredigger run midway through the second half. Montana Tech hit some timely shots and continued to outrebound the Bulldogs to pull away by as much as 11 points. Banks finished the game with 22 points and junior Sierra Higheagle led all scorers with 28 points, 12 from three. Their efforts were not enough as only five Bulldogs registered on the scoreboard.
The Montana Western road trip continues with a final regular season game at Lewis-Clark State on Saturday. Though a win could put the Bulldogs into a tie for sixth in the conference, the final playoff position, both Rocky Mountain and Montana Tech hold tiebreaker advantages over Montana Western.
Bulldogs upset by OrediggersThe Orediggers were determined to upset the top ranked Bulldogs, shooting a blistering 73 percent from behind the arc in the first period. Tech also was perfect from the foul line in the first half and just seven minutes into the game had built a 17-point lead. The Bulldogs battled back behind Stephen McCall’s 16 first half points to trail by 11 at the break.
The tide seemed to turn in the second half with the Bulldogs drawing within two points midway through the period. Though they threatened the Montana Tech lead a number of times, an uncharacteristic performance from the free throw line doomed the Bulldogs. Montana Tech continued to have the hot hand from beyond the arc finishing the contest 9-15 from deep.
Saturday, the Bulldogs will visit Lewis-Clark State in the NAIA Game of the Week with an opportunity to clinch the conference crown. Following the long road trip home the Bulldogs will take a few needed days of rest as they prepare to host a semifinal game in the Frontier Conference Tournament.
Montana Western alum honored with Frontier Conference AwardRecipients of the Service Award are selected by the league’s athletic directors and represent individuals who have made significant contributions to the Frontier Conference. Frontier Conference Commissioner Kent Paulson and Montana Western Athletic Director Ryan Nourse were on hand to make the presentation.
“The very first call I made as commissioner was to my good friend from the past Wally Feldt to see if he would remain in the role of Frontier Conference Director of Media Relations,” Paulsen said. “Fortunately for me, and the rest of our league, he said yes.”
Feldt is a Dillon native, and a 1973 graduate of Western Montana College. After many years working in radio broadcasting, Feldt returned to Dillon in 1990 as the sports information director for Bulldog Athletics. Feldt was able to develop the position into director of publications, media relations and sports information, which he held from 1994 until 2010.
During his tenure at Montana Western, Feldt began coordinating statistical reporting for the Frontier Conference, and developed the league’s sports information director position. He continues to serve as director of media relations for the Frontier Conference and is responsible for maintaining the Frontier Conference website among many other duties.
“When people need to know about the history of the Frontier Conference, want to know what happened last year, last month, yesterday, or today, they know Wally is the person to contact to get all the right information,” Paulsen said.
“Wally is a wonderful friend and professional, and on behalf of his many friends in the Frontier Conference, we want to congratulate Wally on this well-deserved Service Award,” said Paulsen. “It represents all that he has contributed to the process of building the Frontier Conference into the tremendous league that exists today.”
McCall selected Frontier Conference Player of the Week
The Bulldogs defeated Montana State University – Northern 68-46 on Thursday behind McCall’s 18 points on 70% shooting from the floor. McCall also collected four rebounds and five assists in the contest.
On Saturday McCall was recognized with the two other seniors and then stole the show in a 86-76 victory over the University of Great Falls. McCall scored 27 points in the contest with nearly 39 minutes of play. McCall also recorded three rebounds and five assists.
For the weekend McCall averaged 22.5 points with a 58 percent shooting percentage from behind the arc and 61 percent from the floor. McCall was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line and continues to lead the NAIA in free throw percentage (93.3 percent).
McCall will lead the Bulldogs into the final week of conference play with road games at Montana Tech and Lewis-Clark State College.
Bulldogs defeat Argos on senior night
While the Argos jumped out to an early five point lead, the Bulldogs raced back to hold an eleven point advantage at the half after connecting on nine three pointers in the opening period.
In the second half the Bulldogs extended their lead to 16 points before the Argos made a run in the final minutes. Montana Western was able to stave off their opponents with solid free throw shooting including an 8-8 effort from the line for McCall, the nation’s free throw percentage leader.
“This was another great team effort,” Bulldog head coach Steve Keller said. “I’m really proud of our seniors and the way our bench stepped up tonight when we needed them.”
The Bulldogs were led by McCall with 27 points and junior Dexter Williams Jr., who notched 21. Juniors Connor Woodill and Ryan McCarty came off the bench to hit two three pointers a piece. “Stephen McCall had another great night,” Keller said. “He won his matchup with (UGF point guard) T. J. Harris, which was key.”
“Our job’s not done yet. We need to win one more to bring home the title,” Keller commented.
The Bulldogs will take to the road next week for their final two regular season games at Montana Tech and the conference’s second place team, Lewis-Clark State College.
Bulldog rally falls short on senior night
The Argos entered the game determined to stop a three game skid and remain in the contention for a home game in the conference tournament. They hit 7-8 of their three point shots in the opening period and shot better than 70% from the floor. Bulldog senior Jenna Banks answered with 18 first half points, one point shy of her single game career high. The Argos had three players in double digits as they opened up a 14-point lead at intermission.
Bulldog head coach Lindsay Woolley made halftime adjustments to the defense, and the team responded, roaring back into the contest. “In the second half we just did a better job,” Woolley said. “Both Kaci Matthies and Kaye Bignell bounced back from tough games on Thursday and had great intensity tonight” Woolley commented.
The Bulldogs clawed back to be down by just two points twice in the final period, but were unable to draw even. “If we had knocked down a few more of our shots in the second half we would have been in a great position,” Woolley said. “They were good looks from good shooters, but they just didn’t fall. That’s been the story of our season.”
The Argos completed the contest with four players recording 17 or more points, but were outrebounded by the Bulldogs, who also had had more steals and fewer turnovers than Great Falls. Sophomore Kaye Bignell finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for Montana Western and senior Kaci Matthies collected nine points and 14 boards. Banks lead all scorers with 31 points, including a 12-12 night from the free throw line. “Jenna played like a senior should on senior night,” Woolley said. “I’m glad she was able to finish her career in Straugh Gymnasium with that effort.”
The Bulldogs will take to the road for their final conference games next weekend at Montana Tech and Lewis-Clark State College.
Bulldog seniors to be honored at final home games
The Bulldog women's basketball program will honor six seniors:
Jenna Banks is a 2011 graduate of Bozeman High School who competed in her 116th game tonight for the Bulldogs. Jenna will finish her career on the UMW women’s basketball top ten lists for career assists, career free throws made, career free throw percentage, steals per game for a season, and in the top five for number of free throws made in a single game. According to Coach Woolley “Jenna is a fierce competitor who leads by example. She has worked extremely hard to become the basketball player, student, and person she is today.” Jenna has earned academic-all conference honors the past two years and has been named to the Dean’s list each semester as a Biology major. Jenna will graduate this spring with plans to attend graduate school.
Kelsey Callaghan is a 2011 graduate of South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Wash. Kelsey has played in 112 games as a Bulldog, making more than 27% of her 3 point shots, and recording 188 assists. Coach Woolley described Kelsey as “A selfless teammate who truly believes that the team comes before the individual. We will miss her competitiveness next year.” Kelsey is an academic all-conference and dean’s list student who is currently completing her student teaching for a degree in Secondary Education: Physical Education and Health.
Taylor Kanthack is a 2011 graduate of Helena High school who has played in 53 games in three years for the Bulldogs women’s basketball team. Taylor set career high marks this season in points and rebounds in a single game. Coach Woolley said “Taylor is competitive and has a very high basketball IQ. She understands the game and because of that we have been able to play her in a variety of positions.” Taylor will graduate this spring with a major in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Legal Studies, and plans to attend law school next fall.
Kaci Matthies is a 2011 graduate of Helena Capital High School. As a Bulldog Kaci has played in 113 games and scored 642 points. Kaci currently ranks 8th on the UMW career rebounds list with 551. Kaci will graduate in 2016 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education, she has been named to the Dean’s list and honored as an academic all-conference selection. Coach Woolley said “Kaci is able to balance school, work, and basketball which is going to make her successful in the future. She has worked hard to develop her game on the floor which has made her a more versatile player.”
Breyenne Mosey is a 2011 graduate of Crosspoint Academy in Bremerton, Wash. This season Breyenne recorded career highs in both points and rebounds in a single game. Coach Woolley commented that “Breyenne is a wonderful teammate. She supports her peers and our younger players and works hard every day in practice. I know it hasn’t been easy for her but she has thrived in her role in our program.” Breyenne is completing a degree in Business Administration: Small Business Management and will graduate in the spring of 2016.
Baylie Smith is a 2010 graduate of Jerome High School and a 2012 graduate of Umpqua Community College. In two years with the Bulldogs Baylie has competed in 55 games. This season she has accumulated 15 blocks and scored a career high 15 points in a game. Coach Woolley stated that “Baylie’s positive attitude every day is an important part of our program. She fills her role nicely and is a great teammate.” Bailey earned academic all-American honors last season and will graduate this spring with a degree in Business Administration: Small Business Management.
Three seniors from the Bulldog men's basketball program will be recognized:
Kris Castro is a 2010 graduate of Huntley Project High School. In three seasons with the Bulldog varsity Kris has played in 88 games, recording 124 steals, 69 blocked shots, 448 rebounds, and 475 points. As a sophomore Kris was named the 2012-13 Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the year as the Bulldogs advanced to the round of eight at the national tournament.
Coach Keller said of Kris, “His game epitomizes what the Bulldog program is all about – Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together. Kris has an impact on every game, and he does all the little things that help the team win. Kris is our best defender and guards the other team’s best player every night. We will miss the intensity he brings to every game.” Kris will graduate in the fall of 2015 with an elementary education degree.
Stephen McCall is a 2007 graduate of Faith Lutheran High School of Las Vegas, Nevada. In his one season with the Bulldogs, Stephen leads the team with 82 assists and has scored 344 points. Stephen is ranked as the top free throw shooter in the nation, connecting on 92.6% of his foul shots. Coach Keller commented that “We are very happy that Stephen decided to join our program to play his last year. Stephen is one of the best free throw shooters to ever play at Western, and he is a true point guard. Stephen gets his teammates open looks and can score when we need it. The bigger the game, the better he plays.” Stephen is a Business Management: Health and Fitness Management major who will graduate in the spring of 2016.
Jordan Overstreet is a 2010 graduate of Three Forks High School. Jordan made two trips to the NAIA national tournament where he was honored in 2013 with the NAIA Champions of Character award as a member of the Bulldogs’ elite eight squad. Jordan was also named second team all-conference that season. As a Bulldog, Jordan has scored 1090 points in 106 games. Jordan’s UMW career record is 85-28, a 75% winning percentage. According to Coach Keller “Jordan Overstreet has had a great career at Western. He is a true team player who is willing to sacrifice his stats for the team. Jordan is absolutely a winner and is willing to do whatever it take to help his team win. His leadership skills are an important part of our team’s success. We are always looking for players with heart, and I can honestly say that Jordan plays with more heart than any player I have coached.” An elementary education major, Jordan has been named to the Frontier Conference all-academic team each year, and is about to begin his final student teaching assignment.
The Bulldog cheer squad will recognize the work of two seniors:
Natasha Mathis is a 2011 graduate of Helena Christian. Natasha has been a member of the Bulldog cheer squad for three years. Natasha has been named to the Dean’s list and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She will graduate this spring with a degree in Health and Human Performance.
Brylee Zumpf is a 2010 graduate of Custer County District High School and 2012 graduate of Miles Community College. Brylee has cheered for the Bulldogs for three years. She was a member of the 2013 co-ed UCA national champion and co-ed All Star national champion cheer squads. Brylee was named to the President’s honor roll at MCC and has been on the Dean’s List each semester at UMW; she will graduate in the fall of 2015 with a degree in psychology.