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Hot-shooting Montana Western women march into Round of 8 at NAIA tournament

Brynley Fitzgerald vs.  Dordt University
Posted at 12:30 AM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 08:48:19-04

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Third-seeded Montana Western is moving on at the NAIA women's national tournament following an 89-79 victory over No. 2 seed Dordt (Iowa) late Tuesday at the Tyson Events Center.

The win sends the Bulldogs, now 28-5, into the Round of 8, where they will face No. 1 seed and defending national champion Thomas More (Ky.) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Dordt finished its season with a 30-4 mark.

The game was delayed by more than two hours due a leak in the roof at the Tyson Events Center, but that had no effect on the Bulldogs. Jordan Sweeney had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists for Western, while Brynley Fitzgerald had 22 points five rebounds and seven assists.

"We knew it was going to be really hard, which it should be this time of year," said Western head coach Lindsay Woolley in a release. "A ton of respect for Dordt after watching film on them these few days. We knew it was going to be hard for us to stop them, but sometimes offense wins games and tonight that was the case."

The Bulldogs shot a blistering 61.5% from the floor and hit 15 of 24 3-pointers. Sweeney made 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and Fitzgerald hit 4 of 7. Shany Mack added three 3s and scored 13 points.

Leading 75-71 with 3:52 remaining, Sweeney converted a three-point play to stretch the Bulldogs' advantage to seven points. Dordt cut its deficit to three points at 81-78 with 1:47 left, and Western held an 83-79 advantage with 1:17 remaining. But Joelnell Momberg buried a 3 with 48 seconds left to put the Bulldogs up 86-79 and put the game away.

"It was a great win for us," said Momberg. "It was a battle and like coach said they were a very talented team offensively. We kind of made some adjustments on defense throughout the game and battled it out. Us being connected as team helped us come out on top."

Momberg finished with eight points while Emily Cooley added nine for the Bulldogs. Mesa King contributed seven points. Dordt put five players in double figures, led by Karly Gustafson with 18 points (and nine rebounds) and Hayden Heimensen and Bailey Beckman each with 16.

"Credit to our upperclassman and the leadership they showed," Momberg said. "The maturity helped us a lot. It was a great team win and we are back at it tomorrow."