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No. 12 Montana Western women rally past Tech, No. 12 Oredigger men pull away from Bulldogs

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jan 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-15 00:13:01-05

DILLON — A pair of winning streaks were extended on Saturday.

The No. 12 Montana Western women and 12th-ranked Montana Tech men both posted Frontier Conference wins at Straugh Gymnasium to increase winning streaks that started well before the New Year.

In the women's game, the Bulldogs overcame a first-half double-digit deficit against the Orediggers to walk away with a 78-71 win.

It was the 12th straight win for a Western team that improved to 17-2 overall and 5-1 in league play. The Bulldogs were led by a 31-point outing from senior Brynley Fitzgerald — who shot 8-of-12 from the field and converted five 3-point attempts — 12 points from Jordan Sweeney and 10 from Mesa King.

Western trailed 45-39 at the half before outscoring the Orediggers 22-8 in the third quarter to pull ahead. Tech connected on all seven of its 3-point attempts in the first half, but then only hit 2 of 7 after the break.

The Orediggers (6-10, 2-4) were led by 24 points from Tavia Rooney and 13 from Dani Urick. Tech saw a two-game conference winning streak snapped.

In the men's game, Montana Tech also relied on a strong second half to pull away from the Bulldogs for a 75-64 win to expand its streak to eight games.

The Orediggers (17-2, 5-1) also avenged a 67-64 loss to the Bulldogs on Dec. 3 — Tech's only conference loss so far this season.

Western led 35-32 at halftime before a Hayden Diekens layup with 17:12 left in the second half gave the Orediggers the lead for good.

Tech shot 50.9% from the field compared to 34.8% for Western.

Caleb Bellach turned in a double-double performance with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Michael Ure had 17 points and eight boards, and Bridger Larson added 13 points and five rebounds for a squad coming off a double-overtime win over MSU-Northern at home on Thursday.

Ky Kouba paced the Bulldogs (8-11, 3-3) with 18 points — including 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range — 13 points from Jok Jok and 12 from Brenton Woods. The Bulldogs saw a two-game win streak end.

The Montana Tech men and women travel to Billings to face Rocky Mountain College on Thursday while Western hosts Carroll College that same day.