(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – The Montana State University Billings basketball women fell just short of an upset bid against Western Washington University 76-72 Thursday night at Alterowitz Gymnasium in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game. Four MSUB players scored double-figure points but the Vikings squeezed out a road win to keep MSU Billings in standings turmoil heading into the final contest of the regular season Saturday.
Emma Duff led the Vikings with 21 points, nine rebounds, and two steals. Carley Zaragoza finished with 13 points and Anna Schweke added 12. Danielle Zahn managed a career high 14 points and six assists to help the Yellowjackets and Taryn Shelley notched 14 points with a pair of blocks.
“It was a great game,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “Give Western Washington credit as they are an excellent team. We battled hard but just came up a little short. We have another important game on Saturday against Simon Fraser where we will honor our three seniors who have made positive impacts on our program on and off the court.”
The Yellowjackets (14-14, 9-10) loss, coupled with a loss by Saint Martin’s University to Central Washington University Thursday night, kept them in a tie for the sixth and final playoff position in the conference with one game remaining.
Both teams hovered around 50-percent shooting throughout the game. The Yellowjackets gained an eight-point advantage with 5:46 to play in the second quarter but the Vikings stormed back for a 36-36 tie at halftime. After trading one-point leads through the entire third quarter, Western Washington went ahead for the final time with 1 minute to go in the contest on a layup by Schwecke. Lexie Bland and Mollie Olson added free throws and the ‘Jackets failed to convert 3-point attempts on their final two possessions.
MSUB was out-rebounded 36-29. The Vikings also made 44 points in the paint compared to 28 for MSUB. The lead changed hands eight times and was tied six time. MSUB’s largest margin was eight points, compared to four for WWU. The ‘Jackets shot 8-for-15 from the 3-point line (53.3-percent) and made 6 of 9 free throws. Jeanann Lemelin, Taylor Cunningham, and Danielle Zahn each had two made 3-point shots.
THE BUZZ: MSU Billings (14-14, 9-10) hosts Simon Fraser University Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for Senior Night. Saint Martin’s (14-12, 9-10) plays Northwest Nazarene University… Danielle Zahn [msubsports.com] was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game.