Montana Western Punches First Ticket to Semifinals
Billings, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] History was made as Brianna King led four-seed Montana Western in a 74-61 win over six-seed Menlo (Calif.) in the quarterfinals of the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Wells Fargo. With the win, the Bulldogs advance to their first ever semifinals.
King was nearly unstoppable as she scored a tournament-high 40 points, breaking several records in the process of guiding the Bulldogs into the semifinals. The 40 points are a school record, she also set school and tournament marks in made free-throws, going a perfect 18-18 from the line.
Britt Cooper was also a big contributor for the Bulldogs and recorded her tenth double-double of the season with a 15 point, 10 rebound performance and Savanna Bignell added 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals off the bench.
The Oaks came into the contest boasting the third best offensive shooting percentage in the tournament but struggled early on. Menlo trailed by 13 at the intermission but got the offense clicking in the second half. The team connected on three of their next four, three-point field goals cutting the lead to four.
However, the Bulldogs answered with an 11-4 run including four straight points by Alexa Welch would stop any hope of Menlo catching the Bulldogs.
Menlo’s Celina Pagan carried the bulk of the Oak offense scoring 19 points and Aliyah Brantley added 12. The Oaks shot just 35 percent from the floor and 28 percent from beyond the arc.
“We made some defensive adjustments in the second half.” Stated Montana Western head coach Lindsay Woolley, “Mixing and matching our zone bothered them. Not too many teams had zoned them this year so we tried it and got results.”
Montana Western advances to the semi-finals to face the winner one-seed Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and two-seed Central Methodist (Mo.) on Monday at 6 p.m.