(Editor's note: RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS - No. 20 ranked Rocky Mountain College held off Montana Tech in a 62-52 win Thursday night in women's basketball.
Outscoring Montana Tech (11-4, 1-2 Frontier) 17-5 in the first period, Rocky (11-3, 2-1 Frontier) jumped to an early lead. The Orediggers rallied in the second period, even temporarily drawing the margin to 19-17, and the Battlin' Bears entered the half up 28-22.
A pair of free throws from Antuanisha Wright kickstarted a 12-3 run early in the third period to give the Battlin' Bears a comfortable cushion and allowed Rocky to maintain a lead for the entirety of the game.
"I thought it was a great team effort today," said Rocky's women's basketball head coach, Wes Keller. "I think it was one of our best games defensively this season."
The Battlin' Bears held a 48-40 edge in rebounds, including a 34-29 lead in defensive boards, while recording seven steals on the night.
Kloie Thatcher scored a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds for the Battlin' Bears. Wright finished the day with 11 points and six rebounds while the pair of Markaela Francis and Destinee Pointer each posted 10-point performances. Francis nearly recorded a double double with a team-high nine boards.
The Orediggers were led by Dani Urick's 19 points. Mesa Williams had 11 points and seven rebounds while Tavia Rooney scored eight with a team-high 10 boards.
Rocky shot 28.6 percent from the field in the win while landing 4-of-19 from beyond the arc. Montana Tech, in comparison, shot 28.1 percent on the night and 22.2 percent from deep.
The Battlin' Bears will host Lewis-Clark State on Saturday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. The game will begin at 2 p.m.
Montana Tech's men closed on a 14-6 run to beat Rocky Thursday night 80-72.
Hitting 5-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first period, the Battlin' Bears (6-6, 1-2 Frontier) shot 65.38 percent from the field in the first half and held a 46-41 lead over the Orediggers (9-5, 1-2 Frontier) who were shooting 62.5 percent. Rocky lagged as the game wore on, shooting just 23.33 percent in the second period, while Montana Tech continued to land shots with a 54.17 field goal percentage in the final 20 minutes.
"It was a hard-fought game," said Rocky's men's basketball head coach, Bill Dreikosen. "We played well in some aspects, but Montana Tech just got hot at the right time late in the game."
Rocky's Darius Henderson posted a team-high 23 points and six rebounds. Hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, Sam Vining had 13 points while Grant Wallace and Kelson Eiselein each had 11-point performances.
The Orediggers' Sindou Diallo scored a team-high 26 points. Taylor England, the current NAIA Men's Basketball National Player of the Week, had 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Troy Owens Jr. and Drew Huse each scored 14 points.
Rocky finished the game shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on three pointers. Montana Tech posted a 58.3 field goal percentage including 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
The game counted as the Orediggers' first conference win of the 2019-20 season.
The Battlin' Bears will next play Lewis-Clark State on Saturday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. The game will begin at 4 p.m.