HAVRE -- The Montana Western and Montana State-Northern women's basketball teams split their Frontier Conference games on Saturday and Sunday. Western cruised to a 75-58 win on Saturday, and Northern got a 72-70 win on Sunday.
Montana Western 75, Montana State-Northern 58 (Saturday)
The frigid temperatures on the Hi-Line didn't hinder the Montana Western women's basketball team, as the Bulldogs started the game on fire, shooting 50% from the field to jump out to a 39-21 halftime lead en route to a 75-58 win at Armory Gymnasium on Saturday. They didn't cool down in the second half, connecting at a 48% clip to build a 26-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
Paige Holmes led the way for the Bulldogs, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. She added seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.
The Skylights did a good job containing Western junior forward Brynley Fitzgerald, who scored just three points after entering the game having scored 22 points or more in four consecutive games. But the Bulldogs were able spread out the scoring with three players hitting double figures. Sydney Sheridan scored 13 points and Jenni Weber scored 12 to join Holmes' team-high 14. Shainy Mack and Mesa King each scored nine points and Lilly Gopher added eight more.
Tiara Gilham led the Skylights with a game-high 19 points.
The Bulldog defense forced 16 Northern turnovers and held the Skylights to just 26% shooting from the field in the first half.
Montana State-Northern 72, Montana Western 70 (Sunday)
Montana State-Northern outscored Montana Western 24-13 in the fourth quarter to erase a nine-point deficit and upset the Bulldogs, 72-70, on the Hi-Line on Sunday afternoon.
MSU-Northern's Tiara Gilham hit what proved the be the game-winning basket with nine seconds left in the game as Brynley Fitzgerald's last-second 3-pointer fell just short for Western. Gilham finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Skylights, who also got big performances from Sydney Hovde and L'Tia Lawrence. Hovde had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Lawrence added 18 points, four rebounds and two assists.
The game was close in the first half, as Western led 22-19 after one and just 39-37 at halftime. The Bulldogs seemingly took control in the third quarter to take a 57-48 lead, but MSUN rallied in the fourth to split the weekend series.
Fitzgerald led Western with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals, and Shainy Mack added 14 points and three assists.
MSUN (5-12 overall, 4-9 Frontier Conference) travels to Montana Tech Feb. 20 and 21 to close out the regular season. Meanwhile, UM Western (14-5, 12-5) is at Providence on Wednesday and then back home against Carroll College on Feb. 20 and 21.