LEWISTON, Idaho — The defending champions wasted little time on Friday.
Brynley Fitzgerald poured in 21 points, Paige Holmes and Shainy Mack each scored 14 and Montana Western throttled Benedictine University at Mesa 81-36 in the opening round of the NAIA women's basketball national tournament in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Bulldogs now face Westmont University on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the Round of 16 in Sioux City, Iowa, where the remainder of the tournament will unfold March 18-23.
Jenni Weber added 13 points for the Bulldogs, including three triples. Fitzgerald added four 3-pointers as Western combined for 11 buckets from beyond the arc.
The game was essentially over by halftime as the Bulldogs (17-9 overall) rolled to a 19-7 first-quarter lead and then pulled away to lead 34-14 by halftime. Western didn't let up after the break, outscoring the Eagles 24-6.
The Eagles were led by Savanna Crockett with 17 points and Lead Goodman with 10.