(RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS – The 18th-ranked Rocky Mountain College women’s basketball team overcame a slow start to pick up a 62-55 win over Montana Tech in the quarterfinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament on Wednesday night in the Fortin Education Center.
Rocky (22-7) – the tournament’s No. 3 seed – was down 23-11 with 54 seconds to play in the first quarter as the No. 6-seed Montana Tech (14-17) opened the game by making 10 of their first 12 shots from the field.
The Battlin’ Bears turned things around in the second quarter by holding the visitors to 1 of 15 shooting and only four points. Despite that strong second quarter that included an 11-0 run, Rocky wasn’t able to take the lead until the opening minute of the second quarter. The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter until six straight from the Battlin’ Bears had them in front 38-33 with 1:13 on the third quarter clock.
Tech hung around in the fourth quarter and trimmed the deficit to one on four separate occasions in the frame. Leading 53-52 with 4:18 to play, Rocky closed the game with a 9-3 run that included 5 of 6 at the foul line to secure its first postseason win since 2009.
Rocky ended the night shooting 34.6 percent from the floor and they took advantage of 14 offensive rebounds with 14 second chance points. The Battlin’ Bears hit just 3 of 14 from beyond the arc while converting 23 of 29 at the foul line.
Brooke Jones led the way for Rocky with 19 points, her most in a game in the last 15 outings since scoring 20 on January 4. Jones made 5 of 14 shots and grabbed six rebounds.
Alecia Chamberlin and Mikayla Jones had 13 points apiece in the win. It’s the seventh double figures night of the year for Chamberlin and it was bolstered by making all eight of her trips to the foul line. M. Jones added three assists and three steals.
Montana Tech finished the game shooting 41.1 percent. They turned it over 16 times, which resulted in 16 points for the Battlin’ Bears.
Kourtney Coverdell led the Orediggers with 12 points and Mesa Williams added 11 off the bench.
With the win, Rocky reaches the semifinals of the Frontier Tournament and they will play at Montana Western on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Dillon. Western won two of the three meetings this season, including a 64-57 win on January 20 at Straugh Gymnasium.