The Montana Western women’s basketball teams took to the road needing two wins for a chance to play in the Frontier Conference Tournament. Their hopes were snuffed out with an 80-71 loss to the Montana Tech Orediggers. Both 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. (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)
Seven years ago, a group of community members teamed up with the Montana Western women’s basketball program to stage a breast cancer awareness game to honor survivors and increase awareness of the disease. From t-shirts and a bake sale, the program has grown to include events throughout the month of February, and has generated more than $22,000 in the past five years to support the Southwestern Montana Mammography Program. (read more)
Bulldog women fall out of playoff contention
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.
Bulldogs shut down the Lights
The first period started with the teams trading baskets until Montana Western went on a nine point run behind senior guard Stephen McCall. The Bulldogs shot 63.6% in the half and were able to build a 13-point lead at the intermission. McCall led the first half scoring with 16 points. The Lights gathered 14 offensive rebounds in the half, keeping the Bulldogs within reach despite shooting only 26.7% from the floor.
In the second half the Bulldogs tightened their defense further, holding the Lights to 24.6% shooting for the game. “This was a great defensive effort,” Bulldog head coach Steve Keller said. “They really lit us up from three in our game up there, tonight we held them to 9-34 shooting from beyond the arc and each shot was contested.”
The Bulldogs continued to pull away during the second period and Keller was able to play his reserves almost exclusively in the final six minutes of the contest. Dexter Williams Jr. finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior Connor Woodill and Sophomore Ryan Sullivan also hauled in five boards apiece. McCall led all scorers with 18 points and dished out five assists.
“Stephen had a great game tonight, I know he wanted to play well with his father in attendance and he did just that,” Keller commented.
Montana Western seeks to finish the regular season with a perfect home record Saturday when they host the University of Great Falls.
Skylights run away from Bulldogs
Montana Western got off to a quick start taking a lead in the first half before Northern battled back. There were five ties and three lead changes in the first 12 minutes of play before the Skylights made a run to pull away by 12 at the half. Senior Jenna Banks led the Montana Western scoring in the first period with six points, but the Skylights used a balanced offensive attack to build a lead they would not relinquish.
In the second half it was all Skylights and the lead continued to stretch, reaching the 33 point final difference. Montana Western was held to a 13% shooting mark in the second period while Northern was successful on 65% of their shots. Three Skylights notched double-digit points and only one member of their squad was held scoreless. Banks finished as the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with eight points.
Montana Western Pink Zone events continue to grow
In 2007, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association created the Pink Zone concept to raise awareness the impacts of breast cancer and to raise funds for breast cancer research and support programs. The following year, former Bulldog coach Kevin Engellant enlisted the help of supporters to organize the first Pink Zone game at Montana Western. The event expanded quickly to include the girl’s basketball team at Beaverhead County High School as part of over 6,000 women’s basketball programs across the country participating in Pink Zone events.
Thursday, the Montana Western Bulldogs will don their pink uniforms when they take the floor against Montana State University – Northern. Donated to the program in honor of Stana Landon, a UMW sports medicine alumna, the uniforms debuted during last year’s Pink Zone game.
This season, the team will sport the uniforms in games throughout the month of February. The players also take an active role in fundraising for the project by selling Pink Zone t-shirts and volunteering time to work at Pink Zone events in the community.
The 2015 Pink Zone fundraising events kicked off with a wine tasting and Bras for the Cause auction. The event was a sellout for the second year in a row. Throughout this week, local businesses including Vision Source – Dr. Douglas Creger, Sparky’s Restaurant, NV Salon and Beaverhead Brewing Company will donate proceeds from the purchase of goods and services.
Supporters including Taylor Realty, Prudential Montana Realty and Edward Jones financial advisors Trent Cottom and Dennis Schurg, have pledged donations for each three point shot, assist and free throw made during the Pink Zone game. Campus clubs will be staging games and 50/50 sales throughout the contest in addition to the annual silent auction and bake sale.
Funds raised through the Pink Zone events are donated to the Southwestern Montana Mammography Program at Barrett Hospital and Healthcare. The mission of the program is to provide breast health services to underinsured women under the age of 50 in the community. Nearly 150 women from Dillon and the surrounding areas receive free or reduced cost services through the program each year, resulting in an increased rate of early detection, a key factor in successful treatment of breast cancer.